Skip to Content

In The Know: Health Department attorney sent threats to herself regarding marijuana rules, felony charges allege

by | July 18th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, 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

Health Department’s Top Attorney Sent Threats to Herself Regarding Marijuana Rules, Felony Charges Allege: The general counsel for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, who abruptly left her post Friday, faces criminal charges of falsely reporting a crime and creating a fictitious email to send herself threats over the agency’s work on the state’s new medical marijuana program. Julie Ezell submitted her resignation Friday afternoon from the health department, hours after the filing of two lawsuits challenging emergency rules approved by the state Board of Health on July 10 regarding State Question 788 [Tulsa World].

Waiver Proposal Threatens Health Care for Parents and Caretakers: SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, helps thousands of families in our state see a doctor or fill a prescription. This spring, Oklahoma lawmakers ordered the state Medicaid agency to build a proposal to cut coverage for parents if they don’t report working or volunteering enough hours. This proposal has serious consequences for Oklahoma families if it’s approved by the federal government [Enid News & Eagle].

Local Leaders Say Pervasive Hunger Impacting School, Workplace Performance in Tulsa: Pervasive hunger and food insecurity is taking a toll on lifelong health and success across the Tulsa area, but local leaders say a significant portion of eligible residents are not seeking assistance. “Hunger doesn’t have county line boundaries. We have partners in Owasso saying their lines have doubled in the last few weeks. Jenks has a homeless coordinator,” said Eileen Bradshaw, executive director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma [Tulsa World].

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Ethics Commission and Gov. Fallin will square off in court over funding

by | July 17th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, 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

Ethics Commission and Gov. Fallin Will Square off in Court over Funding: The Oklahoma Ethics Commission requested roughly $3 million dollars for the 2019 fiscal year, which began July 1. But the legislature told the commission to use money collected through agency fees in its own revolving fund— some $700,000— to continue operating. Now the commission is suing Governor Mary Fallin and other elected officials, alleging a violation of Oklahoma’s constitution, which requires the legislature to “sufficiently” fund the commission’s duties [KGOU].

Downtown development in Oklahoma City forces homeless migration: Corey Russell, 41, had been homeless for more than two years when he was able to find housing through the Homeless Alliance a few months ago. Construction, combined with an increased police presence, is forcing many to move closer to a cluster of homeless shelters and resource centers around the Metro Park neighborhood, he said. “They have to go somewhere,” Russell said. But that’s led to clashes with area residents and businesses, some of whom already had been complaining for years about the homeless problem. Many of the recent homeless complaints to the city’s Action Center come from businesses in the area [The Oklahoman].

Introducing Open Justice Oklahoma, Now Hiring: Oklahoma Policy Institute is excited to launch a new project to improve understanding of Oklahoma’s justice system through analysis of public data. Working closely with justice system stakeholders and advocates, Open Justice Oklahoma (OJO) will use cutting-edge methods to identify problems, craft solutions, and measure reform outcomes. The project will be led by Ryan Gentzler, who has been a criminal justice analyst with Oklahoma Policy Institute for the past two years. OK Policy is also hiring a justice data analyst to work with the project, with an application deadline of August 3rd [OKPolicy].

Continue Reading »

Medical marijuana rule changes clearly the result of lobbying effort (Capitol Update)

by | July 16th, 2018 | Posted in Capitol Updates, Healthcare | Comments (5)

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.

In my opinion, the State Board of Health stubbed its toe last week with last minute changes to its published, proposed rules implementing the medical marijuana proposal just passed by vote of the people. The Oklahoma State Pharmaceutical Association along with the Oklahoma State Medical Association and the Oklahoma Hospital Association seemed to be at the forefront of the effort to get the Board of Health to amend its proposed rules.

The proponents of medical marijuana brought some of this on themselves by providing that the law would take effect only 30 days from the time of passage by the people. Laws passed by the legislature can only take effect 90 days after adjournment of the legislature unless an emergency clause is attached, which requires a 2/3 vote of both the House and Senate. This provision in the constitution gives the executive branch time to prepare for implementing the new law. But the State Health Department, knowing it had only 30 days, did a good job, up to the time its board met, of anticipating the need for the rules and preparing and publishing proposed rules.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Rep. Claudia Griffith dies from heart attack

by | July 16th, 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

‘She Was a True Leader’: Rep. Claudia Griffith Has Died: Rep. Claudia Griffith (D-Norman) has died. She was 67 years old. First elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2014, Griffith represented east Norman, with House District 45 stretching to Lake Thunderbird from 12th Avenue. A former PTA president, Griffith held a masters in public health from the University of Oklahoma and was well-known in Norman as the former director of Health for Friends. “It is completely unexpected and shocking,” Rep. Collin Walke (D-OKC) said. “She was a wonderful mentor to incoming freshmen about the legislative process.” [NonDoc]

Kimble: Court Ruling Could Halt Oklahoma Medicaid Work Requirements: Oklahoma should reconsider changes to Medicaid requirements. A recent federal court ruled that requiring work or community engagement to be eligible for the Kentucky HEALTH program, Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion, was not appropriately reviewed by the federal government and cannot move forward. Oklahoma is among many states pursuing work requirements, but the court’s decision is reason for pause [Carter Kimble / Journal Record]. Advocacy Alert: Protect SoonerCare for Oklahoma Families [OKPolicy]

Uncertainty Remains on Medical Marijuana Implementation: Two weeks after Oklahoma voters agreed to legalize medical marijuana, numerous questions remain over how it will be implemented, and patient access could still be several months away as legal challenges have already been made and some voters worry the state government is chipping away at a system that hasn’t even begun [NewsOK]. Medical marijuana Q-and-A: How would newly added rules affect patients? [Tulsa World].

Continue Reading »

The Weekly Wonk: forces shaking Oklahoma politics; plea deals tip scales; public feedback needed

by | July 15th, 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, we released Episode 33 of the OK Policy Cast, where Strategy and Communications Director Gene Perry talked with Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma, about the forces shaking Oklahoma politics. OK Policy Summer Intern Anna Rouw explained how plea deals have unfairly tipped the scales of Oklahoma’s justice system against defendants, and proposed ways judges and lawmakers can reduce the harms of plea deals. 

Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update warned us that with rising revenues, we should be wary of ending the discussion on revenue measures unless we want to slip back to the bottom of the barrel. In his weekly Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt responded to a correspondent who lamented our frequent reporting of depressing news and statistics after we released the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book that ranked Oklahoma in the bottom ten for child well-being. 

OK Policy in the News

Policy Director Carly Putnam spoke to KFOR about why it is vital that the community participates in the public comment period of the new SoonerCare proposal. You can submit a public comment via our user-friendly form at www.okpolicy.org/SaveSoonerCare. To learn more about the new SoonerCare proposal and how it could hurt families living in deep poverty, visit our advocacy alert page

Criminal Justice Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler spoke with KTUL about medical marijuana and why it is not a big revenue generator. The Stillwater News-Press wrote about Oklahoma’s disappointing ranking in the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Board broke tradition in setting medical marijuana rules, author unknown

by | July 13th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, 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

Board broke tradition in setting medical marijuana rules, author unknown: The State Board of Health deviated from its normal procedures in adopting a framework for Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry, even overruling their own attorney after she warned their actions could prompt a lawsuit. In the past, the board has relied on its general counsel to craft proposed regulations. But on Tuesday the board approved two major rules, the origins of which remain unclear [NewsOK]. One of the many provisions Oklahoma health officials included in their medical marijuana regulatory framework will likely create significant cost increases for growers looking to enter the industry [Journal Record]. Oklahomans will have many legal questions about medical marijuana, but attorneys say existing rules might make it difficult to answer them [KGOU].

Medical marijuana ‘working group’ eyed at Oklahoma Legislature: Oklahoma legislative leaders said Thursday they will create a working group to address medical marijuana regulations just days after the Board of Health implemented controversial new rules. House Speaker Charles McCall and Greg Treat, who will serve as leader of the Senate next session, said the bipartisan committee will begin working with medical marijuana stakeholders to write policy conforming to voters’ intent [Tulsa World]. In the wake of Gov. Mary Fallin’s quick decision to authorize the state health agency’s controversial medical marijuana regulations, onlookers said the move highlights a widespread desire among elected officials for the ordeal to end [Journal Record]. The big winners in this week’s dust-up over the state Health Department’s medical marijuana overreach are proponents of recreational pot. Even before the health board imposed restrictions sure to be challenged in court, Green the Vote already had secured two-thirds of the signatures necessary to force a statewide vote on full legalization [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record].

6 Investigates: State of Oklahoma Seeing Decline in Daycares: Oklahoma’s population is on the rise, but the number of daycare centers across the state is shrinking significantly. In fact, there are just over 3,300 licensed daycares statewide right now. That’s down from almost 6,000 back in 2005. The decrease is hurting families as well as businesses. For Vanessa Tice, often the only way she can work is by holding her child because in Kingston by Lake Texoma, where she lives, there are currently zero licensed daycares. They’ve all closed [NewsOn6]. Child care is getting less accessible for Oklahoma’s working parents as the number of children receiving subsidized care has declined by one-third [OKPolicy].

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Gov. Fallin signs temporary rules for medical marijuana

by | July 12th, 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

Gov. Mary Fallin signs temporary rules for medical marijuana; advocates say they violate voters’ intent: Amid ongoing threats of legal challenges to emergency rules approved by the state Board of Health, Gov. Mary Fallin on Wednesday signed off on the temporary new regulations for State Question 788. She conceded that she expects modifications to occur in the future on an issue that is “uncharted territory” for the state. The board, in a 5-4 vote, authorized a last-minute amendment that bans the sale of smokable products and requires that a pharmacist be on staff at dispensaries [Tulsa World]. Oklahoma House Democrats have voiced strong opposition to the emergency medical marijuana rules [OKCFOX]. This isn’t the first time Oklahoma officials have heard that a policy could be illegal [Journal Record].

State agencies could lose power in furor over new cannabis rules: The medical cannabis rules introduced Tuesday by the Oklahoma State Board of Health surprised many political observers and marijuana industry hopefuls. Perhaps most surprising was the last-minute introductions of rules that would ban smokable forms and some edibles, and the requirement that retailers employ a pharmacist to dispense marijuana. Oklahomans took to social media to express outrage, including members of the Legislature. That kind of thinking could galvanize support for stripping agency boards of power. [NewsOK]

Plea deals have unbalanced Oklahoma’s justice system: One of the most basic rights for Americans accused of a crime is the right to a fair trial before a jury. However, the vast majority of criminal convictions – 90 to 95 percent – don’t happen at trial. Instead, they’re the result of a guilty plea, a deal negotiated by prosecutors and defense attorneys absent a trial. Plea deals are the norm for a number of reasons, but the justice system’s dependence on them is a serious problem [OKPolicy].

Continue Reading »

Plea deals have unbalanced Oklahoma’s justice system

by | July 11th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, Criminal Justice | Comments (3)

Anna Rouw is an OK Policy summer intern. She recently graduated from the University of Tulsa.

One of the most basic rights for Americans accused of a crime is the right to a fair trial before a jury. However, the vast majority of criminal convictions – 90 to 95 percent – don’t happen at trial. Instead, they’re the result of a guilty plea, a deal negotiated by prosecutors and defense attorneys absent a trial. Plea deals allow defendants to avoid the uncertainty of a months-long trial, and in exchange for a guilty plea, prosecutors generally agree to reduced charges or more lenient sentences. Plea deals are the norm for a number of reasons, but the justice system’s dependence on them is a serious problem. When nearly all criminal cases are resolved outside of the courtroom, the dangers include racially biased sentences, convicting innocent defendants, and a criminal justice system with little transparency or accountability.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Ban on sale of ‘smokables’ could set up legal challenge as rules for medical marijuana approved

by | July 11th, 2018 | Posted in Blog, 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

Ban on dispensary sale of ‘smokables’ could set up legal challenge as new rules for medical marijuana approved: The Oklahoma Board of Health, by a 5-4 vote on Tuesday, approved a last-minute amendment banning the sale of smokable medical marijuana products at dispensaries — a move that shocked cannabis industry representatives and could lead to legal challenges [Tulsa World]. The Oklahoma State Medical Association and a host of other health care organizations had called for the Board of Health to ban the smoking of marijuana entirely [NonDoc]. ACLU of Oklahoma threatens lawsuit over newly-adopted marijuana rules [KFOR]. Criminal Justice Policy Analyst Ryan Gentzler spoke with KTUL about medical marijuana revenues [KTUL].

Aug. 28 #okleg runoffs: ‘Education is the No. 1 issue’: Runoff-primary elections typically feature lower turnouts than their parent elections. Yet without SQ 788 on the ballot as it was in June, Oklahoma could see a large drop in participation come the Aug. 28 runoff. However, #oklaed issues remain a top priority for many Oklahoma voters, and stakeholders say the topic could shape the outcomes of several legislative runoff elections [NonDoc].

OEA President: Editorial Mischaracterized Our Efforts: An important byproduct of the teacher walkout in April was the unprecedented number of candidates filing for office in mid-April, including record numbers of teachers. We count 115 educators or people with close ties to education (e.g. a spouse who teaches) who filed for the state Legislature or Congress. That has been a huge story locally as well as nationally. In “Union targeting its allies in GOP” (Our Views, July 6), the Oklahoma Education Association was accused of ignoring Republicans who supported last session’s revenue-raising bills and the teacher pay raise in favor of Democrats. Nothing could be further from the truth [Alicia Priest / NewsOK].

Continue Reading »

Episode 33: Keith Gaddie on the forces shaking Oklahoma politics

by | July 10th, 2018 | Posted in Elections, Podcast | Comments (2)

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 OK PolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover, or people you want us to interview, you can reach us at policycast@okpolicy.org.

Keith Gaddie

A couple weeks ago was one of the most interesting and unexpected elections in Oklahoma in a long time. From a big surge in turnout, strong approval of medical marijuana, and numerous incumbents either being forced into a runoff or voted out altogether, it’s clear that something is changing in Oklahoma politics.

What happened, what does it mean for the coming runoffs and general elections, and what will our state look like after it all shakes out? To better understand these questions, I spoke to Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma and one of the most well informed, insightful, and balanced commentators on Oklahoma politics today.

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

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. ...
  11. 421