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In The Know: Influx of new voters; celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day; grants to address student mental health needs…

by | October 8th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

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.

In The News

Oklahoma Seeing Influx of New Voters: Oklahoma’s top election official says voter registration is surging prior to the Nov. 6 general election. Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Friday almost 2.1 million people were registered to vote in the state at the end of September. Ziriax says more than 76,000 people have registered to vote since Jan. 15. The deadline to register to vote in the general election is Oct. 12. [Public Radio Tulsa] Find more information from OK Policy on Oklahoma’s upcoming elections and state questions here.

Tulsa’s Native American Day back Monday for second year: Coming just three weeks after the resolution establishing it, Tulsa’s first Native American Day in 2017 didn’t have the benefit of a lot of forethought. But for the second go-round that’s not the case, and the planning shows. Celebrating the contributions of native peoples to the community, the second annual Tulsa Native American Day is set for Monday with a number of free, public events scheduled. [Tulsa World] Today is also the first OKC Indigenous Peoples Day thanks to a proclamation from new Mayor David Holt. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Education Department gets $12.5M in mental health grants: The Oklahoma State Department of Education has received $12.5 million in federal grants to address students’ mental health needs. The funding is going to the area of greatest need: western Oklahoma. “Of the 106 mental health providers that serve students, there are only five that exist west of Oklahoma City metro area,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. “Only five.” [Public Radio Tulsa]

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The Weekly Wonk: All of the State Questions; after oil and gas; TogetherOK voter forums…

by | October 7th, 2018 | Posted in Weekly Wonk | Comments (0)

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

In this week’s episode of the OKPolicyCast, we spoke with Executive Director David Blatt and Policy Director Carly Putnam about the five state questions on the ballot. In his weekly Journal Record column, Blatt explained State Question 800 in more detail.

OK Policy in the News

Blatt spoke with the Florida Phoenix about the impact of State Question 640 on the Oklahoma legislature. 

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In The Know: Oklahoma revenue breaks record; DA defeat opens door to drug court; reassessing occupational licenses…

by | October 5th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

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.

In The News

Oklahoma collects a record $12.5 billion over past year: Oklahoma’s gross receipts to the treasury broke a record in September, but only a small fraction of that total can be attributed to the state’s recent historic tax hikes. State Treasurer Ken Miller’s office released its monthly report on Thursday. Collections last month totaled $1.2 billion, which set a record for September collections. [Journal Record]

District attorney defeat could bring drug court to one of the only counties without one: A judge’s promise to bring a drug court to Pawnee County eventually led to a legal dispute with a district attorney who said the county couldn’t support drug court. The DA’s primary election loss may pave the way for a new attempt to bring the county a drug court. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Costs and requirements of occupational licensing standards under review: After creating tools to determine whether occupational licenses are the best way to regulate workers in several industries, Oklahoma officials got the ball rolling to use them. The Oklahoma Department of Labor has joined the nationwide trend of reassessing occupational licenses. The idea is that for many industries, there are less expensive and less strenuous options that would offer just as much public safety. [Journal Record 🔒] Occupational licensing is a growing barrier to Oklahomans who seek a decent job. [OK Policy]

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In The Know: Child abuse prevention funds restored; police mental health training; 2018 voter guide…

by | October 4th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

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.

In The News

A year after cutting child abuse prevention funds, state OKs new grants: The Oklahoma Department of Health has restored funding for child abuse prevention after it was cut during the state’s budget crisis nearly a year ago. Nonprofit community agencies across the state will again receive their share of about $2 million, which will be used for in-home support of new parents. Before the program was defunded, it served 700 families who were expecting a child or had young children in the home. [NewsOK]

Advocates: More mental health crisis training needed for police statewide: About 1,500 law enforcement officers across the state have worked with mental health officials on crisis intervention training, but specialists said that number needs to and will keep growing. As Oklahoma comes to grips with its growing demand for mental health services, government entities at all levels are reassessing their role in addressing those needs. [Journal Record]

Introducing… the 2018 Oklahoma Voter Guide: The 2018 Voter Guide  is a project of the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma with contributions from Oklahoma Watch and other nonprofit and for-profit organizations.This guide provides a nonpartisan, impartial review of the five state questions on Oklahoma’s general-election ballot, lists the candidates and offers basic voting information. It also compares stances on issues among the gubernatorial candidates. [Oklahoma Watch] You can also find election information, State Question fact sheets, and voter tools on our #OKvotes page. [OK Policy]

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In The Know: High trauma rate among children in OK; life without parole for juveniles; Tulsa to examine potential mass graves…

by | October 3rd, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

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.

In The News

Summit: Oklahoma’s youngest, most vulnerable children suffer more trauma than those in any other state in the nation: State leaders in education, criminal justice and health came together Tuesday to begin to confront an alarming, new statistic: Oklahoma’s youngest, most vulnerable children suffer more trauma than those in any other state in the nation. A summit titled, “It Starts Here: Trauma-Informed Instruction,” brought thousands of educators from across the state to hear from national experts on childhood trauma and what brain science reveals about what teachers can do to help students both learn more effectively and heal. [Tulsa World]

Life without parole considered ‘sentence of death’ for juvenile offenders, study argues: A legislative panel was asked to keep life without parole for juveniles on the books, but also provide guidance on its use. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee heard an interim study at the request of Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, about how youths sentenced to life parole were affected. [Tulsa World] Ruling brings parole chance for those who killed as children [AP News]

Tulsa will examine three sites for possible mass graves from 1921 race massacre, mayor says: Mayor G.T. Bynum said Tuesday that the city will examine two Tulsa cemeteries and a third site to determine whether they include mass graves from the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. The city will begin with Oaklawn Cemetery before moving on to Rolling Oaks Memorial Gardens, formerly Booker T. Washington Cemetery, and property near Newblock Park. [Tulsa World]

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OKPolicyCast 38: All The State Questions (with David Blatt and Carly Putnam)

by | October 2nd, 2018 | Posted in Elections, Podcast | Comments (1)

The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry with production help from Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org.

On November 6, besides voting for a new governor and several other state offices, Oklahoma voters will decide five state questions on topics from optometry to school funding. To help you make informed choices on these state questions, OK Policy has already released fact sheets for each one with background information and a summary of arguments made by both supporters and opponents. To add to this resource, today I spoke with OK Policy’s Executive Director David Blatt and Policy Director Carly Putnam to discuss what each of the five state questions on the ballot mean and what people are saying about them. This conversation will be one of the easiest ways for you to quickly get up to speed before election day.

You can download the episode here, subscribe at the links above, or play it in your browser:

In The Know: OK shifts from juvenile detention to treatment; charter schools growing; uninsured adults in rural Oklahoma…

by | October 2nd, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

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.

In The News

OJA contracts with White Fields group home: The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs will partner with a Piedmont facility to offer a “home-like setting” for male youth in the juvenile justice system, another effort by the state agency to shift from a focus on detention to treatment. The OJA on Sunday announced a contract with White Fields group home to provide treatment, mentoring, education and counseling for up to 12 young males. [NewsOK]

As charter schools multiply, their hunt for buildings, and money, grows: Students as young as 4 spend the day at Le Monde International School learning to speak, write and read in French or Spanish. On a recent day, a class of boys and girls greeted their principal with an enthusiastic “Bonjour!” Another class crafted Eiffel Towers out of craft sticks. The state’s newest charter school offers students a language-immersion, arts-integrated curriculum, books and supplies. What it doesn’t have: a playground, a library or a cafeteria. [Oklahoma Watch]

Texas, Oklahoma have higher rates of uninsured rural adults: Texas and Oklahoma were among non-Medicaid expansion states with the highest rates of uninsured adults, especially those living in rural areas. Meanwhile, that rate in Kansas and Nebraska were among the lowest. According to a study released Tuesday from Georgetown University and the University of North Carolina, of non-elderly uninsured adults, the rates of those living in rural areas is 36 percent in Texas and 38 percent in Oklahoma. In Kansas and Nebraska, the rate is 24 percent. [HPPR] Read the full study here.

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In The Know: New school consolidation study; milestone in child welfare reform; Oklahoma bond outlook improves…

by | October 1st, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

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.

In The News

School consolidation pushed by some, but remains tough political sell: Oklahoma has too many school districts and could save nearly $30 million if it had a number of districts more in line with states of similar size, according to a policy paper recently published by an education professor. In a report titled “Right-sizing Oklahoma Districts,” James Machell, dean of the University of Central Oklahoma College of Education and Professional Studies, highlights Oklahoma as an outlier when it comes to the number of school districts. [NewsOK 🔒] You can read the full report here.

Closing Laura Dester facility is mile marker in potentially long road to satisfy foster child abuse lawsuit settlement: The closure of Laura Dester Children’s Center as a shelter doesn’t signal a forthcoming dismissal of a 2008 federal class-action lawsuit alleging abuses of foster kids in state care. It may be years down the road before terms of the settlement are satisfied. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services voluntarily decided to stop operating shelters as part of wide-scale reforms of the state’s child-welfare system. [Tulsa World]

With budget crisis seemingly resolved, Oklahoma bond outlook improves: The bond rating service Moody’s has upgraded Oklahoma’s status from negative to stable, which could make investors more eager to lend the state money after years of financial turmoil. Moody’s affirmed the State of Oklahoma’s Aa2 rating, but revised the state’s outlook from negative to stable. While a negative outlook connotes downward pressure and the possibility of a downgrade, a stable outlook translates to stability and the rating agency’s belief the rating will remain unchanged for the next 12-24 months. [NewsOK]

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The Weekly Wonk: New KIDS COUNT report; State Question 800; pay your interns…

by | September 30th, 2018 | Posted in Weekly Wonk | Comments (0)

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

This week, Strategy and Communications Director Gene Perry analyzed data from the latest KIDS COUNT® policy report, Opening Doors for Young Parents, and found that Oklahoma is missing opportunities to give young adult parents and their kids a boost. Executive Director David Blatt delved into State Question 800, where voters will decide whether to set aside a portion of future oil and gas revenues for a new reserve fund

In his weekly Journal Record column, Blatt stressed the importance of paying interns and the dangers of expecting students to work for free. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update shed light on findings from a recent interim study on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Upcoming Opportunities

Today is the last day to submit a public comment on the Medicaid plan: This is your last chance to submit a public comment and encourage your friends to do so as well. At the direction of Governor Fallin and the state legislature, the state Medicaid agency has put together a plan to cut vital health coverage for low-income parents who don’t report working or volunteering enough hours. The deadline to submit a public comment on OHCA’s Medicaid proposal is today, September 30th. You can use this question survey or this quick form to send your public comment. You can watch and share public comments submitted by SoonerCare patients here and here.

Oklahoma Watch-Out Candidate Forum in Lawton: TogetherOK and Oklahoma Watch are teaming up for a legislative candidate forum in Lawton on Tuesday, October 9. The forum will be free and open to the public and will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the McMahon Centennial Complex. Oklahoma Watch Executive Editor David Fritze will moderate the discussion, and audience questions will be allowed. For more information, visit the Facebook event page

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In The Know: Oklahoman newspaper sold; GOP members targeted by colleague; ‘Lasting harm’ of incarcerating mothers…

by | September 28th, 2018 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (1)

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.

In The News

Oklahoman sells to GateHouse Media, lays off several newsroom staffers: The Oklahoman Media Company, the state’s biggest, announced today that it was being sold to GateHouse Media — and laid off 37 staffers. An estimate was that about 15 of those job losses came from the newsroom, though two people agreed to retire. A story on newsok.com says that the sale will be final Oct. 1. Employees reported being alerted via email yesterday to a mandatory meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday. They sat through a 35-minute presentation about the sale and upcoming changes before being informed of the layoffs. [Poynter] GateHouse Media already owns The Journal Record, The Daily Ardmoreite, Bartlesville Examiner-Express, Miami News-Record and Shawnee News-Star, as well as a number of weekly publications. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma Republicans targeted by colleague, dark money: When voters booted a dozen Oklahoma Republican legislators from office in the primary, the common thinking was that educators angry about classroom funding were behind the ousters. But there were forces at work beyond just agitated teachers. A top GOP House leader actively participated in a plan to take down several hardline members of his own caucus. [AP News]

Report focuses on ‘lasting harm’ of incarcerating mothers prior to trial in Oklahoma: The perils of pretrial incarceration practices in Oklahoma are spotlighted again in a report that specifically zeroes in on the “devastating” consequences of keeping mothers from their adolescent children. Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday released a 121-page report on “the lasting harm of jailing mothers before trial in Oklahoma.” The report states that women are the fastest growing correctional population in the U.S., and since the 1990s, Oklahoma has incarcerated more women per capita than any other state. [Tulsa World] Read the full report here. [Human Rights Watch]

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