In The Know: 4 dead, dozens injured after car crashes into OSU homecoming parade

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today In The News

4 Dead, Dozens Injured After Car Crashes Into Oklahoma State University Homecoming Parade: Four people are dead and dozens more are injured after a car barreled through a crowd during Oklahoma State University’s homecoming parade Saturday morning. A car traveling southbound on Main Street hit several people near the intersection with Hall of Fame Ave. less than a mile east of Boone Pickens Stadium [KGOU].

Boren’s sales tax plan reflects shift in Oklahoma tax base: University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s proposed penny sales tax for education reflects a fundamental shift in the way the state is paying for public schools, higher education and other services. Economists interviewed by Oklahoma Watch expressed concern about reducing the state’s reliance on income taxes and increasing its dependence on sales taxes to finance essential state functions [Oklahoma Watch]. OK Policy’s statement on the proposed sales tax increase is available here.

Oklahoma Earthquakes Are a National Security Threat: In the months after Sept. 11, 2001, as U.S. security officials assessed the top targets for potential terrorist attacks, the small town of Cushing, Okla., received special attention. Even though it is home to fewer than 10,000 people, Cushing is the largest commercial oil storage hub in North America, second only in size to the U.S. government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve [Bloomberg Business].

Adding beds isn’t enough to address Oklahoma prison overcrowding, experts say: Squeezing extra bunk beds into prisons is temporarily addressing the state’s overcrowded prisons, but the Corrections Department wants lawmakers to come up with sustainable solutions to stem the tide of offenders coming into the system. With state facilities already at 112 percent capacity, the department is bracing for a predicted net growth of 800 offenders this fiscal year [NewsOK].

Private prisons no bargain: Over the past two decades the Department of Corrections has become a financial prisoner to private prisons, paying $92.2 million last year — a 16 percent increase over the year before, and nearly 20 percent of appropriations to the agency. This unsustainable spending for private beds is the product of short-sighted political decisions made 20 years ago during the Keating administration to avoid rational sentencing policies that would reduce Oklahoma’s runaway prison population [Tulsa World].

New program preps prisoners for work: The last time Tina McAtee walked out of prison, she was armed with a bus ticket and $50 courtesy of the Department of Corrections. She had no job skills and, as she puts it, “I didn’t even have a chance to get a job.” So she went back home to Lawton and fell back under the sway of the bad influences — and drug addiction — that put her in prison in the first place [NewsOK].

Would consolidating law enforcement improve public safety? The more things change, the more they stay the same. Getting ready for the next legislative session with its budget crater (meaning a real big hole) ideas to meet the demands of the time are streaming from hardworking policymakers. A couple that reached the discussion stage last week were a proposal to consolidate some law enforcement agencies, including the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD) and possibly the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and a tax reform proposal by Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa [OK Policy]. 

A-F grades met with skepticism, criticism: As required by law, the state Board of Education released the state’s A-F school grade cards for 2015 on Thursday. Not that anyone plans to do anything with them [Tulsa World]. When considering if a school is a good fit for their children, parents need comprehensive and accurate information to make a good choice — things not found in the current accountability system for Oklahoma’s public school system [Supts. Rick Cobb and Joe Siano / NewsOK].

 Teach for America works to bring more Hispanic teachers to Oklahoma: Teach for America, the nonprofit group that places teachers in high-need and urban schools nationwide, announced Friday that it will recruit more Hispanic teachers to improve instructional diversity. Oklahoma City Public Schools stands to benefit from the move by TFA to add 2,400 Hispanic undergraduates and professionals beginning with the 2016-17 school year [NewsOK].
Turning Oklahoma DHS around proving to be slow work: “We are making positive gains in turning this ship around …” Those are the words of Ed Lake, director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, in a letter emailed to The Oklahoman after the most recent report by experts charged with overseeing the agency’s work to improve child welfare outcomes. Lake’s metaphor is apt — the scope of the problem is massive. Rapid improvement was never likely [The Oklahoman].
ACLU sues Johnston County over Ten Commandments monument at courthouse: The ACLU of Oklahoma on Friday filed suit in Johnston County District Court seeking to have a recently installed Ten Commandments monument removed from public property. The ACLU launched the legal challenge that resulted in the Oct. 5 removal of a privately funded Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol. The Johnston County monument went up on the courthouse lawn in Tishomingo the next day [Tulsa World].
Oklahomans give overwhelming support to death penalty, poll finds: Despite three recent botched attempts leading to a state-ordered moratorium on executions, a majority of Oklahomans continue to support the death penalty, according to new polling data. A poll of 500 registered voters conducted last week by The Oklahoman in partnership with Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates found that 67 percent of Oklahomans support the death penalty, with 49 percent expressing strong support [The Oklahoman].
Train service brings hope to western Oklahoma town: Residents in this town were treated to a rare sight Friday as the first passenger train in 48 years to pull into its downtown arrived to mark the opening of new service by Farmrail that will serve its newest employer, Badger Mining. Times are tough in this western Oklahoma town of 1,100 people. The mayor knows it. The chamber folks know it [NewsOK].


Quote of the Day

“We don’t need more beds. We need less offenders. We don’t need to have this many people in prison, especially when they (lawmakers) don’t want to pay for this many people in prison.”

– Sean Wallace, executive director of Oklahoma Corrections Professionals (Source)

Number of the Day


Birth rate per 1,000 Hispanic females ages 15-17 in 2012

Source: 2014 State of the State’s Health.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Waitstaff and bartenders are less likely to be in poverty when they are paid the regular minimum wage: The poverty rate among waitstaff and bartenders is dramatically lower in states where tipped workers must be paid the regular minimum wage as a base wage than in states where restaurants can pay tipped workers a base wage less than the full minimum wage. Federal law permits restaurants to pay tipped workers a base wage of $2.13 per hour so long as the weekly total of their tips plus the base wage is the equivalent of a week’s salary at the minimum wage. If not, restaurants are supposed to make up the difference, although this requirement is difficult to enforce and there is considerable abuse [Economic Policy Institute].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

2 thoughts on “In The Know: 4 dead, dozens injured after car crashes into OSU homecoming parade

  1. “We as prosecutors are convinced that the people who are in prison today absolutely deserve to be there,” Mashburn said. “We are putting the right people in prison in the state of Oklahoma and I believe that with 100 percent of my heart.”

    “We as prosecutors are convinced that the people who are in prison today absolutely deserve to be there, unlike the people just like them in other states who don’t go to prison and whose states have much lower crime rates, like North Carolina, which has had a higher crime rate than the national average since implementing the same sentencing reforms in the late 1990s that OK rejected on the convinced opinion of frequently judicially-censured prosecutors like me,” Mashburn said. “We are putting the right people in prison in the state of Oklahoma and I believe that with 100 percent of my heart. Not 100 percent of my brain, which has never come into play on this question among me or my fellow prosecutors, who all know that the overwhelming studies of overincarceration and crime rates don’t support our hearts and might force us to consider actually far more effective ways to reduce crime and victimization in OK that have worked in other states but that wouldn’t give me the power and position to be quoted in a newspaper like this.”

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