In The Know: Ex-cop Holtzclaw found guilty of rape in sexual assault case

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. 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.

Today In The News

Oklahoma ex-cop guilty of rape in sex abuse case: A former Oklahoma City police officer was convicted Thursday of 18 of the 36 counts he faced, including four counts of first-degree rape, related to accusations that he victimized 13 women on his police beat in a minority, low-income neighborhood. Daniel Holtzclaw, 29, sobbed as the verdict was read aloud. He could spend the rest of his life in prison based on the jury’s recommendations, which include a 30-year sentence on each of the first-degree rape counts [NewsOK].

Study: Oklahoma maintains streak of deepest state-aid cuts to schools since ’08 recession: A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows Oklahoma’s cuts to per-pupil funding for public schools are nearing 25 percent, by far the deepest in the nation since the economic recession struck in 2008. Oklahoma is one of only a dozen states that continued to cut general support for schools this year even as the national economy recovered, according to the new analysis of state aid data [Tulsa World]. Oklahoma’s total state appropriations for the support of schools is $173 million below what it was in fiscal year 2008, even before accounting for inflation and enrollment growth of more than 45,000 students [OK Policy].

Oklahoma economy the nation’s worst in second quarter: Oklahoma’s economy shrank in the second quarter, posting the worst performance among all states, according to data issued Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Energy losses triggered by persistently low oil prices accounted for more than a 4 percentage point reduction in Oklahoma’s gross domestic product, a measure of the output of the state’s goods and services, the agency said [NewsOK].

OHCA cuts Medicaid reimbursement rate: In what’s called a best-case scenario, medical providers will see a 3-percent Medicaid reimbursement rate cut on Jan. 1. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board approved the cut Thursday, just halfway through the fiscal year. The OHCA said it expects the decision to save the state $28.5 million through the fiscal year ending in 2017. Taken in combination with federal matching funds, the cut could represent a $76.7 million hit to Medicaid spending in Oklahoma [Journal Record].

Norman city council member charged with felony: Norman City Council member Stephen Holman and Friendly Market owner Robert Cox were charged Thursday in Cleveland County District Court in connection with the Norman Police Department’s undercover operation on Nov. 12 and Dec. 1 raid on the novelty store, which sells glass pipes. Seven counts were jointly filed, including a felony charge, which alleges that Holman and Cox acquired proceeds from drug activity and six other misdemeanor charges related to drug paraphernalia [Norman Transcript].

We the People Oklahoma says progress being made in Tulsa Jail after Sheriff’s Office meeting: Marq Lewis and other members of We the People Oklahoma emerged from their second meeting with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday feeling progress is being made but miffed at one particular nugget of information. Some of the progress includes notable changes at the Tulsa Jail in regard to medical care and information in the inmate handbook [Tulsa World].

Gun background checks: Oklahoma among worst states for submitting mental health records: Oklahoma continues to rank among the worst-performing states in the country when it comes to submitting mental health records of people with dangerous mental illness to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, according to a new study. Oklahoma has submitted 51 mental health records, making it one of six states to have submitted fewer than 100 such records since the NCIS was established more than 20 years ago, according to the report [Tulsa World].

2015 Becomes Wettest Year In Oklahoma History: This year has proven to be a monumental year for precipitation in Oklahoma, according to the state’s climatologist. The previous record for the wettest year in Oklahoma was 1957, when the state received 47.88 inches. As of December 10, Oklahoma has already received 48 inches of rain in 2015 [NewsOn6]. 

Quote of the Day

“Instead of investing in Oklahoma children, Oklahoma lawmakers are giving them teacher shortages, growing class sizes, and disintegrating textbooks. That will make it harder for the next generation of Oklahomans to compete for jobs, and it will deprive local businesses of a well-trained workforce and a strong customer base.”

– Oklahoma Policy Institute Policy Director Gene Perry, on a new report showing that Oklahoma’s general preK-12 education funding per student is down by 24.2 percent since 2008, far more than any other state (Source

Number of the Day


Average hourly wage of a petroleum engineer in Oklahoma City in 2014

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Second Racial Wealth Gap: He died on a Saturday. My mother and I had planned to pick my dad up from the hospital for a trip to the park. He loved to sit and watch families stroll by as we chatted about oak trees, Kona coffee, and the mysteries of God. In that next year, I graduated from grad school, got a new job, and looked forward to saving for a down payment on my first home, a dream I had always had, but found lofty. I pulled up a blank spreadsheet and made a line item called “House Fund.” That same week I got a call from my mom—she was struggling to pay off my dad’s funeral expenses. I looked at my “House Fund” and sighed. Then I deleted it and typed the words “Funeral Fund” instead [Washington Monthly].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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