In The Know: 13k could lose Medicaid coverage; 7th inmate this year dies in OK County jail awaiting treatment; governor, other new officials take office today…

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

Researchers estimate up to 13,000 would lose Medicaid coverage under Oklahoma work requirements: Oklahoma wants adult Medicaid recipients to submit proof they’re working, volunteering or job training 20 hours a week. That could cause 4,000 to 13,000 people to lose coverage, according to Georgetown University researchers. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Jail inmate waited for mental health treatment bed for months before death: For nearly three months before she died, Krysten Mischelle Gonzalez sat in an Oklahoma County jail cell while public defenders searched for an inpatient mental health treatment facility that would agree to accept her, the county’s chief public defender says. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma Ethics Commission bans leadership PACs: The Oklahoma Ethics Commission voted 5-0 Friday to ban state legislators from operating leadership PACs. The new rule likely will never go into effect, though, because legislators are expected to reject it once their upcoming session begins in February. [NewsOK] Ethics proposal would mandate disclosure of ‘indirect’ lobbying donors. [Journal Record]

Governor and other statewide officials to take office: New leaders take control of Oklahoma government Monday during a midday ceremony to swear in the new governor and six other statewide officials. Kevin Stitt will become Oklahoma’s 28th governor and Matt Pinnell will be sworn in as lieutenant governor, both entering office for the first time. [NewsOK]

Stitt’s administration largely reflects his own status as a political outsider, new to government work: Kevin Stitt campaigned for governor as a political outsider. Now, hours away from being sworn in Monday as Oklahoma’s 28th chief executive, Stitt appears committed to governing that way, too. [Tulsa World] Bison Bash in Lawton offers southwest Oklahomans a chance to meet the Stitts. [NewsOK]

Stitt inauguration donors may not be revealed until summer: Hundreds of donors and supporters will welcome Kevin Stitt as Oklahoma’s 28thgovernor during four days of events that started Thursday, including a pair of black-tie balls, gourmet dinners and entertainment from a country-music star. [Oklahoma Watch] The Oklahoma Capitol’s south plaza will host thousands of spectators on Monday, as Gov. Kevin Stitt makes his inaugural address. [Journal Record]

Labeling bill tops Oklahoma medical marijuana agenda: The Oklahoma Legislature’s top two voices on medical marijuana are hoping to quickly pass testing rules this session before moving on to more controversial issues. Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, who co-chaired a medical marijuana working group that met ahead of the session, said testing and labeling will be the first priority because the state doesn’t have a framework for making sure smokable marijuana isn’t contaminated. [NewsOK]

Senators file bill to remove loophole for felon passengers: Two Oklahoma senators filed a bill Thursday to close a loophole that they say causes unfair punishment for felon passengers in vehicles. Senate Bill 46, authored by Sen. Paul Scott and Rep. Jim Olsen, keeps felons from being punished for riding in vehicles with drivers who are legally carrying a firearm. [KJRH]

Daniels files bill to repeal new car tax: District 29 State Sen. Julie Daniels has filed four bills for the upcoming legislative session, and serves on the Health and Human Services Committee, the Judiciary Committee, Energy Committee and medical marijuana implementation working group. [Examiner-Enterprise] A recent OK Policy analysis shows the budget is still a long way from full recovery and we should be wary of repealing any of the hard-won revenue gains of recent years.

Fallin meets with former inmates whose sentences she commuted: During her first month of freedom, Kayla Jeffries has relished simple pleasures like waking up Christmas morning with her two daughters or taking them to the park. Since Gov. Mary Fallin commuted her 20-year prison sentence, Jeffries has been savoring those moments that she has missed for the past three years. [Tulsa World] Woman released from prison through Project Commutation turning life around. [KTUL]

Two Oklahoma jails are submitting DNA from recent arrestees to the OSBI; As many as 17 more expected to join them: County jails in Oklahoma County and Woods County have sent DNA samples from new arrestees to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the result of a controversial law passed in 2016 that only just got off the ground late last year. [The Frontier]

Police: Investigation into alleged sexual assault that led to records lawsuit was closed with no charges being filedAn investigation into an alleged sexual assault last fall of a special needs adult ended with no criminal charges being filed, a Tulsa Police representative told The Frontier on Friday, a day after an open records lawsuit was announced naming the City of Tulsa and police chief Chuck Jordan as defendants. [The Frontier]

Grady County salary overpayments could create accounting nightmare: The state audit is over, but the accounting nightmare is likely just beginning for 13 current and former Grady County elected officials who were found to have been overpaid by a combined $727,343 over a 10-year period. [NewsOK ????]

Hospitals post prices for first time, but it’s unlikely to help patients: For the first time ever, many Oklahoma hospitals are posting their prices online for every service or item they offer, creating a consumer menu. But a closer look at these price lists shows that they are unlikely to help patients comparison-shop with ease or figure out complicated medical bills. [Oklahoma Watch]

Keeping Oklahoma kids out of foster care is goal of ‘Intensive’ program: Traditionally, child welfare workers in Oklahoma have had two choices when they see a family is in trouble: either recommend the parents seek help or ask a court to remove the children. About three years ago, the state started exploring a middle path, called “intensive safety services,” where a therapist spends up to 10 hours a week with a family and teaches skills to try to keep the children safe without removing them. [NewsOK]

Tulsa, OKC eyed as proving grounds for supportive housing programs: A demonstration to launch this summer will help Oklahoma youth transition from state custody to permanent housing. Several groups will come together to get them into a supportive housing model — affordable housing where they are also connected with social and health services. [Public Radio Tulsa] The Invisibles: On the streets, bedding down in the cold. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma breaks record for organ donations in 2018: The pain of 188 Oklahoma families gave a new chapter in life to 487 others as the state had another record year for organ donations. The number of deceased donors in Oklahoma has more than doubled since 2013, and the number of recipients has come close to doubling, according to LifeShare Oklahoma, which promotes organ donations and handles the arrangements when a person eligible to be a donor dies. Organ donations reached a new high in Oklahoma last year. [NewsOK]

Tulsa gender, racial equity group sees opportunities in 2019: A grass-roots effort in Tulsa to promote gender and racial equality continues to grow, with plans afoot to expand the leadership of the group and become more active in the community, an organizer said. [Tulsa World] Women’s median pay less than men’s at Tulsa City Hall, analysis shows. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Because Oklahoma is a state that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the adults that they’re talking about here — although they don’t usually describe them this way — they’re parents, and they’re very poor parents, the most vulnerable families in Oklahoma.”

-Center for Children and Families Executive Director Joan Alker, speaking about her group’s new estimate that up to 13,000 Oklahomans would lose health insurance under Oklahoma’s proposed Medicaid work and reporting requirements [Source: Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day


Share of Tulsans earning less than $27,000 who say they could not afford health care or medicine in the last 12 months. For all Tulsans, the share was 36%

[Source: 2018 Gallup Citivoice Index]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

‘Feel-good’ holiday stories are actually just a symptom of a crumbling society: Individual acts of generosity like these can feel rewarding: People see a fellow human in distress and they help alleviate it, for an immediate hit of gratification (and guilt reduction, when these gifts come from people who may have contributed to the underlying problem). But they do not necessarily make a long-term meaningful difference in the recipient’s life, and they do nothing to resolve the inequities that created the situation in the first place. For every one of these happy endings, there are millions of others facing the same precarious situations with no helping hand in sight. [Talk Poverty]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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