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The Weekly Wonk: Shrinking school support staff; how Gov. Stitt can fix the parole process; bills to watch; & more…

While school enrollment in Oklahoma has been increasing steadily over the last decade, there are 391 fewer support professionals in our schools. How Governor Stitt can use his executive powers to fix parole. Why Oklahoma's Medicaid agency should withdraw a rule to terminate health care coverage over returned mail. Issues we're watching on the budget, taxes, and health care. [More...]

Bill Watch: Optimism and caution on the health care front

In previous years, health care legislation has often come with a sense of existential crisis, as budget cuts and efforts to take away coverage have loomed large. But this year, with a new administration and a healthier budget, lawmakers have a chance to reverse course and offer more readily accessible quality health care in Oklahoma. [More...]

Support staff pay raise and restoring cuts is key to improving Oklahoma’s schools

[Image Source: U.S. Department of Education / Flickr] Oklahoma schools don't have enough support staff to meet needs, and their salaries are far too low averaging just $21,583 a year. While HB 1010xx gave support professionals a $1,250 pay raise, it was well short of the $5,000 they asked for. This session, education support professionals must be a bigger part of our conversations about how to better serve Oklahoma's schools. [More...]

Gov. Stitt can save Oklahoma millions through parole reform

Gov. Stitt’s State of the State address signaled a serious desire to make criminal justice reform a signature piece of his agenda. He’s made positive comments regarding several bipartisan bills filed this legislative session aimed at stemming Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis. However, there are… Read more [More...]

Bill Watch: Quieter year expected on the tax front

Some of the fiercest battles of recent legislative sessions have centered on tax policy as lawmakers debated competing tax proposals to limit funding cuts and provide teachers a raise. This year, thanks to a strong economy and recent tax increases, the state's budget outlook is greatly improved. Yet even if the stakes are lower, lawmakers still filed hundreds of bills this session that would revise Oklahoma's tax system. [More...]

OK PolicyCast 43: 2019 Bill Watch, Part 1

It's a new year, a new Legislature, a new governor, and many new bills that could have a big impact on Oklahomans' lives. In this episode, Gene Perry talks to OK Policy's Executive Director David Blatt and Policy Director Carly Putnam about the big issues we're keeping an eye on this year related to the state budget, taxes, and health care. In a future episode, we'll talk about other bills we're tracking related to education, criminal justice, and economic opportunity. [More...]

Oklahoma’s Medicaid agency should withdraw plan to terminate health coverage over returned mail

For many low-income Oklahomans, having a place to call home isn’t something you can take for granted. Many families struggle with high rent, frequent evictions, unstable family environments, and more. Now, the state Medicaid agency, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), has proposed a new policy to terminate coverage for families who move and don’t update their address quickly enough in agency records. [More...]

The Weekly Wonk: Mental health policy fellowship; don’t delay pre-K; teacher walkout message ignored…

Applications launched for the 2019-2021 cohort of the Mental Health Policy Fellowship. Why delaying Pre-K under Senate Bill 11 would be a step back for Oklahoma's most vulnerable children. How a lack of funding forces thousands of families raising a child with a developmental disability to wait over a decade for critical services. Resources to help you follow what’s happening and in the Legislature. [More...]

We’re hiring! Apply for the Mental Health Policy Fellowship

OK Policy is excited to announce that we are accepting applications for the 2019-2021 cohort of the Mental Health Policy Fellowship through March 1, 2019. The Mental Health Policy Fellowship is intended to equip professionals in Tulsa and the greater Oklahoma community to be passionate, knowledgeable advocates for mental health and addiction policy reforms. [More...]

Hurry Up and Wait: For thousands of families, critical services can be a decade away (Guest Post: Erin Taylor)

There is a certain amount of hustle commonly involved in raising a child with a developmental disability.  As parents, we’re managing special education plans, medical appointments, and specialty therapies. But there is one experience where endurance, and not hustle, is called for: The Waiting List. [More...]

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