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In The Know: Unprecedented number of women candidates; Rainy Day Fund gets refill; opioids back in court…

by | August 6th, 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

2018 Elections Yielding Unprecedented Numbers of Women Candidates: When Oklahoma voters head to the polls this fall they will see an unprecedented number of women on state ballots, driven in part by political fervor surrounding the April teacher walkout. Fifty-five women — 45 Democrats and 10 Republicans — already have made it to the Nov. 6 general election for Oklahoma House and Senate seats, and another 30 — 10 Democrats and 20 Republicans — face runoffs on Aug. 28 [Enid News & Eagle]. Oklahoma 2018 state questions and elections info [OKPolicy].

Oklahoma’s Rainy Day Fund Gets Much-Needed Refill: Oklahoma’s Constitutional Reserve Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, will get a sorely needed refill after years of budget crisis. According to an end-of-year report, the state’s general revenue fund collected almost $400 million more than what economists predicted. The general revenue fund is the pool of money lawmakers use to appropriate each year [NewsOK].

Federal Judge Sends Oklahoma Opioid Lawsuit Back to State Court: The state of Oklahoma’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers is returning to state court. Defendants had the case moved to federal court, saying the state is asking them to make different disclosures to the public than required by federal law. But U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange in Oklahoma City ruled Friday that the lawsuit does not “necessarily raise” a federal issue [Public Radio Tulsa]. The Chickasaw and Choctaw nations have each filed lawsuits against 19 opioid manufacturers — joining a long list of tribes, states, cities and counties that have accused drug companies of deceptive marketing practices that contributed to the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic [NewsOK].

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The Weekly Wonk: Pre-runoff update; OK’s conservative grip loosening; medical marijuana advocates and regulators split

by | August 5th, 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

The OK Policy team spent the week with 62 of Oklahoma’s brightest students for a deep-dive on public policy in Oklahoma at the 2018 Summer Policy Institute. Check out photos from SPI here. For recaps on presentations and panel discussions, you can visit our Twitter page for threads on topics like Criminal Justice, Health Care, Education, Economic Security, and more.

In a pre-runoff update, Executive Director David Blatt listed five things we know about Oklahoma’s 2018 legislative elections. In his Journal Record column, he wrote about increasing signs that conservatism’s grip on Oklahoma politics is loosening. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update explored several issues that are dividing medical marijuana advocates and regulators

OK Policy in the News

Open Justice Oklahoma provided the data for a Tulsa World piece on eviction court filings in Tulsa County reaching a 10-year peak in 2017. Tulsa World editorial writer Ginnie Graham cited OK Policy’s work on the problems with sales tax holidays. The Stillwater News Press cited OK Policy data on state elections in an article detailing discussions at a Stillwater League of Women Voters Luncheon. The Tahlequah Daily-Press published our announcement on the launch of a new Fellowship program to prepare early-career professionals to become highly competent advocates for impactful policy reform.

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In The Know: School funding State Question on Nov. ballot; 5 things we know about 2018 elections…

by | August 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

Gov. Mary Fallin Puts School Funding State Question on the Nov. 6 Ballot: Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday put on the Nov. 6 ballot a state question that asks voters whether schools could use property tax revenue for operational costs such as teacher pay. State Question 801 would give local school boards the option of using existing property tax funds to cover costs in the classroom, such as teacher pay and textbooks, without raising taxes. Property tax revenue is primarily used for building funds [Tulsa World]. There are good reasons why Oklahoma has reserved building funds for repairs and maintenance [OKPolicy].

Five Things We Know About Oklahoma’s 2018 Legislative Elections – Pre-Runoff Update: Based on the unusually high numbers of open seats, candidates filing for office,  and challenges to incumbents, it already looked as if 2018 could be a landmark year in Oklahoma politics. Now, following what was an historic primary election in June, we know for certain that this is one of the most interesting and unexpected election years in Oklahoma in a long time. As we approach the runoff elections on August 28th, here are five things we know [OKPolicy].

Prosperity Policy: Avoid the Wrong Lessons from Health Board Fiasco: It looks like the State Board of Health has another chance to get it right on medical marijuana. Last month the board, against the recommendations of its own staff, voted 5-4 to adopt several last-minute rules on medical marijuana that flagrantly contradicted the language of State Question 788 approved by the voters in June. Amid massive public outcry, the attorney general quickly issued an advisory opinion identifying where the board had overstepped its authority [David Blatt / Journal Record].

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Five things we know about Oklahoma’s 2018 legislative elections – pre-runoff update

by | August 2nd, 2018 | Posted in Blog, Elections | Comments (3)

Several months ago, we wrote about this year’s Oklahoma elections following the candidate filing period. Based on the unusually high numbers of open seats, candidates filing for office,  and challenges to incumbents, it already looked as if 2018 could be a landmark year in Oklahoma politics. Now, following what was an historic primary election in June, we know for certain that this is one of the most interesting and unexpected election years in Oklahoma in a long time. As we approach the runoff elections on August 28th, here are five things we know.

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In The Know: Teacher pay raises now in effect

by | August 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

‘It’s a historic and exciting day for Oklahoma’: Teacher pay raises now in effect: Wednesday — a day when few schools were in session across the state — was touted as a hallmark day for education in Oklahoma. The bill that codified the teacher pay raise that passed in March in conjunction with the Oklahoma teacher walkout took effect Wednesday. The average $6,100 for the more than 40,000 teachers across the state is now the law of the land [Tulsa World]. Five things to know as OKCPS starts a new school year [NewsOK]. Oklahoma City high school students can win new car by having perfect attendance [KFOR].

Day Before First Day of School, and OKCPS Still Needs Teachers: Many kids are heading back to school this week, and several districts still have positions that need to be filled. Oklahoma City Public Schools starts school on Wednesday. Superintendent Sean McDaniel said they still have openings. Parmalee Elementary School has an opening for a special education teacher. Head Principal Michelle Lewis said the summer leading up to this was challenging [KFOR].

Oklahoma School Districts Schedule Election Day Holiday: At least seven Oklahoma public school districts plan to make Election Day a holiday this year to encourage teachers and staff to vote. The Oklahoman reports that the state’s two largest districts, Oklahoma City Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools, have scheduled Nov. 6 as an off day. Muskogee, Ada and Shawnee schools have also marked Election Day as a holiday [AP News].

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Several issues divide medical marijuana advocates and regulators (Capitol Update)

by | July 30th, 2018 | Posted in Capitol Updates, Healthcare | Comments (0)

Steve Lewis served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1989-1991. He currently practices law in Tulsa and represents clients at the Capitol.

I attended the first meeting of the marijuana working group last Wednesday and found it interesting. First, there was standing room only consisting mainly of proponents of medical marijuana. These folks worked hard for their victory and have no intention of allowing the political process to rob them of their success. They made it clear that their litmus test for regulating the industry is whether any proposed regulation limits access to the plant for medicinal purposes.

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The Weekly Wonk: New mental health policy fellowship; paid Fall internship with OK Policy; No job? No doctor…

by | July 29th, 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

It was another exciting week for the OK Policy team with the launch of a new fellowship program and preparations for our annual Summer Policy Institute. For followers of our daily news brief,  In The Know will go on hiatus next week while we host our annual Summer Policy Institute, but you can follow what’s happening on Twitter with the hashtag #okspi. In The Know will return Thursday, August 2nd.

In response to the critical needs in Oklahoma’s mental health care and addiction services, OK Policy announced a new fellowship program to prepare early-career professionals to become highly competent advocates for impactful policy reform. In addition to the Mental Health Policy Fellowship, OK Policy will add a new Mental Health Policy Analyst and Fellowship Coordinator position. The deadline to apply for both positions is August 13. 

This week we also began accepting applications for paid, part-time internships in our Tulsa office during the Fall 2018 semester. In Episode 34 of the OK PolicyCast, Strategy and Communications Director Gene Perry spoke with Policy Director Carly Putnam and Hannah Katch from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities about the plan to take SoonerCare away from patients who are unable to work or report enough hours a week. 

Executive Director David Blatt’s Journal Record column explored the shifting landscape in Oklahoma politics and asked if Oklahoma was still a conservative state. In his Capitol Update, Seve Lewis lamented the loss of an experienced lawmaker with the resignation of AJ Griffin.

OK Policy in the News

Blatt spoke to the Tulsa World about Oklahoma’s historic deposit in the Rainy Day Fund. 

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In The Know: Creek Freedmen file federal lawsuit against tribe

by | July 27th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, 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 Know will go on hiatus next week as we host our annual Summer Policy Institute. You can follow what’s happening at the Summer Policy Institute at the hashtag #okspi. In The Know will return Thursday, August 2nd.

In The News

Creek Freedman file federal lawsuit against tribe: Another Oklahoma tribe is facing litigation over the citizenship status of the descendants of its former slaves. With about 20 challengers on hand, attorneys with Riggs Abney formally announced a lawsuit Thursday afternoon at the Greenwood Cultural Center against leaders of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the U.S. Department of Interior [Tulsa World].

U. of Oklahoma Official Hired in Wake of Racist Fraternity Chant Says He Was Forced Out: A vice president at the University of Oklahoma who says he was forced to resign after being accused of improperly using a state vehicle for personal reasons denied the charge on Thursday. The real reason Jabar Shumate contends he was forced out involved his opposition to a fraternity whose racist chant three years ago plunged the university into turmoil and led to the creation of his position [The Chronicles of Higher Education].

Prosperity Policy: Still a Conservative State? Is Oklahoma a conservative state? The answer might seem obvious. Oklahoma has the well-earned reputation as one of the nation’s reddest states. Republicans dominate at all levels, including controlling every statewide office and congressional seat and three-quarters of state legislative seats … And yet, there are increasing signs that conservatism’s grip on Oklahoma politics is loosening [David Blatt / Journal Record].

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Apply now to be an OK Policy paid intern this Fall

by | July 26th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

OK Policy is now accepting applications for paid, part-time internships in our Tulsa office during the Fall 2018 semester! If you’re looking to be part of a team that’s fighting to make Oklahoma better for all Oklahomans, this might be the place for you.

As an OK Policy intern, you may be asked to do things like help with data collection and formatting, write blog posts on state policy issues, assist with our advocacy efforts, help to coordinate events, and help with office administration. Interns work between 15 and 25 hours per week and are paid $11 per hour. We are happy to cooperate with your institution’s requirements for academic credit.

Internships are open to both current undergraduate and graduate students (must have completed a minimum of 24 hours of college credit) and to recent grads (Spring 2018 or later). Go here to learn more and to apply. Applications are due no later than 5:00 PM on Tuesday, August 7th.

Questions? Reach out to Courtney Cullison (clcullison@okpolicy.org) – she’ll be happy to help you!

In The Know: Gov. Fallin tops list of least-popular governors in America

by | July 26th, 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

Gov. Mary Fallin Tops List of 10 Least-Popular Governors in America in Her Final Months in Office: Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings were compiled from online surveys conducted with 326,051 registered voters from April 1 through June 30. Term-limited Gov. Mary Fallin will be out after November, but in her final stretch in the Oklahoma governor’s mansion, she edged out Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) to become the nation’s most unpopular governor for the first time since her election [Tulsa World].

Chelsea Church Terminated as Pharmacy Board Director: Chelsea Church has been terminated as executive director of the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy, effective immediately. The board went into executive session shortly after 2 p.m. to discuss whether to take employment action against Church, the non-appropriated agency’s executive director, who is under criminal investigation. The board features six members, all of whom were in attendance Wednesday. After more than 80 minutes in executive session, the board reconvened in open session and voted unanimously to terminate Church [NonDoc].

OK Policy Announces Fellowship Program Focusing on Mental Health, Addiction: Oklahoma Policy Institute, in response to the critical needs in Oklahoma’s mental health care and addiction services, has announced a new fellowship program to prepare early-career professionals to become highly competent advocates for impactful policy reform. In addition to the Mental Health Policy Fellowship, OK Policy will add a new Mental Health Policy Analyst position [OK Policy].

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