In The Know: New Oklahoma school safety laws change little

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.

Today you should know that Governor Fallin signed four school security bills developed by a task force created after the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Law enforcement and school officials say the bills will not do anything that wasn’t already being done. The Senate passed 3 abortion bills and a resolution against same sex marriage. On the OK Policy Blog, we explain that despite attempts by state officials to block the law, Oklahoma consumers will still benefit when the Affordable Care Act goes into full effect next year.

The court date for Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board members’ misdemeanor case for alleged Open Meeting Act violations was delayed until June 27. The Oklahoma City School District is seeking to close a northeast OKC charter school which the superintendent says has mismanaged money and failed to provide adequate academic progress to students. Cherokee Nation officials presented $3.2 million from tribal car tag sale proceeds to 92 northeastern Oklahoma school districts.

Gov. Mary Fallin told the Tulsa Chamber that she thinks there will be room in the upcoming state budget for both an income tax cut and a boost for common education. Gov. Fallin’s initial budget proposed no new money for common education, which may already be $60 million in the hole due to the passage of SQ 766 to abolish intangible property tax.

The Number of the Day is the number of states who are participating (or leaning towards participating) in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. In today’s Policy Note, Wonkblog summarizes the new federal immigration bill developed by a bipartisan group of Senators.

In The News

New Oklahoma school safety laws change little

The highly touted package of school security bills that have passed the Oklahoma Legislature won’t make schools much safer, at least in the short term, school and law enforcement officials said this week. The House gave its approval Thursday to four bills establishing a Homeland Security division for school safety and directing schools to run intruder drills, report firearms found on campus and share their emergency plans with local emergency responders. The bills were a result of a commission convened by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb to study the problem after 20 first-graders and six educators were shot and killed in December at an elementary school in Connecticut. But school officials — whether in the 120-student Cleora Public School in Afton or the 44,000-student Oklahoma City Public Schools — said they have run lockdown drills, shared their plans with police and alerted police when they find guns for years. And they said Oklahoma’s Office of Homeland Security already helps them prepare for emergencies.

Read more from the Associated Press.

Senate passes 3 abortion bills, resolution against same sex marriage

The Senate on Tuesday passed three abortion bills. House Bill 2015 would substantially increase what information physicians performing abortions are required to report to the Oklahoma State Department of Health and put in a website without identifying the woman. House Bill 1361 would require parents who consent to a minor’s abortion to show a government-issued identification card and written documentation establishing that he or she is the lawful parent. The measure must return to the House, said Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, the Senate author. The Senate also passed House Bill 1588 that would require parents to be notified if a judge grants permission for a minor to obtain an abortion. The measure returns to the House for consideration.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Oklahoma health insurance consumers will still receive benefits and protections of the Affordable Care Act

Barriers still remain in achieving the real goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to get uninsured Americans affordable healthcare coverage. The Supreme Court created one of these barriers when it ruled that the federal government could not force states to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals with incomes less than 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). As a result, 14 states, including Oklahoma, have decided or are leaning towards not expanding Medicaid. The latest barrier is the unwillingness of some states to enforce the consumer protection provisions of the ACA. In states unwilling or unable to enforce these provisions, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has empowered the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) to directly enforce the provisions.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog.

Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board members due back in court in June

Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board members won’t be back in court until June 27 on their misdemeanor cases, attorneys said. Their next court appearances were set for Thursday but prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to a delay. Charged last month with 10 misdemeanor counts are board Chairman Marc Dreyer and board members Currie Ballard, Richard Dugger and Lynnell Harkins. Charged with nine misdemeanor counts is board member David Moore. The board members are accused of violating the Open Meeting Act when they first voted on early release requests. They are accused of failing to properly notify the public.

Read more from NewsOK.

Superintendent says Oklahoma City charter school fails academically, fiscally

A northeast Oklahoma City charter school has mismanaged money and failed to provide adequate academic progress to students, a letter from the Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent states. But an attorney for Marcus Garvey Leadership Charter School calls the allegations “without merit” and “discriminatory.” Marcus Garvey officials will have a hearing with the Oklahoma City School Board, though a date has not been set. Superintendent Karl Springer notified school Principal Kevin McPherson last month that he plans to ask the Oklahoma City School Board to terminate the charter school contract at the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30.

Read more from NewsOK.

Cherokee Nation donates $3.2 million to northeaster Oklahoma school districts

Cherokee Nation officials presented $3.2 million from tribal car tag sale proceeds to 92 northeastern Oklahoma school districts on Friday. According to Cherokee Nation law, 38 percent of the revenue from each car tag goes to school districts that are at least partially within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdictional area. Funds are distributed based on the number of Cherokee Nation citizens enrolled in each district, but school officials may spend the money however the district sees fit.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Gov. Fallin pushes tax cut at Tulsa chamber event

Gov. Mary Fallin thinks there will be room in the upcoming state budget for both an income tax cut and more spending, including a boost for common education. Earlier, Fallin met with the state House and Senate Republican caucuses and told them to focus on “big ticket” items on her legislative agenda. A cut in the personal income tax rate seems to still be at or near the top of that agenda. When it was mentioned that only a few days ago the Tulsa Chamber had indicated very little enthusiasm for a tax cut, Fallin smiled and said a tax cut and more money for education are both possible through growth revenue and savings realized through government consolidation and modernization. She said the most commonly mentioned increase for common education is $75 million.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Quote of the Day

One of the core empirical points providing the intellectual foundation for the global move to austerity in the early 2010s was based on someone accidentally not updating a row formula in Excel.

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal, on news that a frequently cited statistic used to argue that government debt slows the economy was based on incorrect data

Number of the Day


The number of states who are participating (or leaning towards participating) in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act

Source: The Advisory Board Company via OK Policy Blog

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Senate immigration bill: Here’s what you need to know

Months after their Jan. 28 announcement of a tentative compromise on immigration reform, the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” has finally unveiled its bill, or at least a summary of the proposal. It includes sweeping changes in treatment of both existing undocumented workers and aspiring immigrants. Here are the key points, culled from summaries in the Post and Politico as well as the actual bill summary, posted by Talking Points Memo.

Read more from The Washington Post.

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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