In 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.
New from OK Policy
Statement: Budget deal brings welcome progress but many missed opportunities: As a result of last year’s revenue increases and a continuing strong economy, lawmakers had a historic opportunity to reverse a decade of cuts across core public services. This opportunity was only partly realized. In particular, increased state aid funding for schools, pay increases for correctional officers, and reduced law enforcement reliance on fines and fees will address some of the most dire funding needs for Oklahoma kids and public safety. [OK Policy]
Meet OK Policy: Outreach & Advocacy Coordinator Sabine Brown: Oklahoma Policy Institute has grown a lot in the past few years. From humble beginnings in 2008, we now have a staff of 19, including talented individuals who focus on a wide range of policy issues, intensive data analysis, outreach, communications, events and operations, and more. To give you a better idea of who we are and what we all do, we are running an OK Policy Blog series highlighting our staffers. [OK Policy]
Prosperity Policy: Every person counts: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” That seemingly simple question, if added to the 2020 U.S. Census, could have a profound impact on American politics for the next decade. The sixth sentence of the U.S. Constitution calls for an “actual enumeration” of each state’s population every 10 years. The first census after the American Revolution was taken in 1790 and there have been 22 federal censuses since then. [David Blatt / Journal Record]
Just under two weeks to apply for the 2019 Summer Policy Institute: “The Summer Policy Institute was a valuable and unique experience. I never imagined I would learn as much as I did. I formed relationships with so many students and professionals across the state. The information was comprehensive, and the guest speakers were amazing.” -Lily DeFrank, Masters in Social Work, OU. The deadline to apply is Monday, May 27.
In The News
Stitt, lawmakers agree to $8.3 billion state budget: Gov. Kevin Stitt and leaders in the Oklahoma Legislature announced an agreement on a record $8.3 billion state budget on Wednesday. [Journal Record] The full list of new #okleg appropriations [NonDoc]
Budget deal includes teacher pay raise: Gov. Kevin Stitt and leaders of the Oklahoma House and Senate announced Wednesday a state budget deal that includes more than $200 million in new education funding and pay raises for teachers and state employees. [NewsOK] On average, teachers will receive a $1,220 teacher pay raise for districts that are on the funding formula, or 97 percent of teachers. [Tulsa World]
DOC ‘getting closer’ to acquiring device necessary to carry out executions, director says: Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh said on Wednesday that the agency is “getting closer every day” to acquiring a device needed to resume the death penalty, though there’s still no firm date for executions to begin again. [The Frontier]
Oklahoma County a step closer to finalizing jail trust: Oklahoma County officials are about a week away from a final trust indenture document to create a criminal justice authority that will, in turn, manage the county jail under a new trust. Wednesday’s work by the three-member advisory committee exemplified the adage comparing lawmaking with sausage – it took 20 minutes to clarify the meaning of the word “jailer” and its foundation in state statutes, for example. [Journal Record]
Senate confirms Gov. Stitt’s nominations of Mike Mazzei, Jennifer Monies, and Estela Hernandez: The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Mike Mazzei as Gov. Kevin Stitt’s budget secretary. Mazzei is a former Republican senator from Tulsa and a financial planner. The upper chamber also approved Stitt’s appointments of Jennifer Monies and Estela Hernandez, both of Oklahoma City, to the State Board of Education. [Tulsa World]
State making progress in occupational licensing review: Licensing rules that affect Oklahomans including funeral directors, embalmers, pesticide applicators, water well drillers, facialists and family practice physicians will be reviewed in the coming year by the state’s Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission. [Journal Record 🔒]
Bill to update HIV/AIDS education vetoed: An effort to update Oklahoma’s 1987 law requiring AIDS education in public schools ended with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s veto of House Bill 1018. “I’m not happy with it at all,” the bill’s author, Rep. Marcus McEntire, said Wednesday. “The state statue doesn’t even refer to HIV because it’s so old.” [NewsOK 🔒]
Stitt signs bill aimed at improving state’s response to sexual assaults: The budget deal Gov. Kevin Stitt and legislative leaders announced Wednesday includes $1 million to help address the state’s backlog of untested rape kits. Also this week, Stitt signed a third piece of legislation aimed at improving the state’s response to sexual assaults and handling of rape kits. [NewsOK]
‘Big box’ optometry bill headed to governor: Opticians and optometrists could be operating inside Walmart and other “big box” retail stores in the state’s two largest counties by the end of the year under legislation headed to the governor’s desk. Senate Bill 100, by Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives 90-0 on Wednesday, a few days after receiving Senate approval. [Tulsa World]
Measles outbreak arrives in Oklahoma: The national measles outbreak has come to Oklahoma. The state Health Department announced the first confirmed case of measles Wednesday. The case is in Okmulgee County. It’s the first confirmed case in Oklahoma since May 2018. [NewsOK]
Mental health art exhibit asks, ‘How would you like to be seen?’: The Mental Health Association Oklahoma’s purple “See Me” mosaic aims to bring awareness to the stigma people with mental illness face by having everyone write out an answer to the question, “How do you want to be seen?” [Public Radio Tulsa]
Ransomware hits OKCPS: Oklahoma City Public Schools is in their third day of trying to recover from a ransomware attack on its network that began on Monday morning. Ransomware is a type of malware that allows an Internet attacker to gain entry to a network and lock it down so that the owner has no access. [Free Press OKC]
Factchecking Oklahoma: Is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau driving up banking costs for Oklahomans? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau might have the driest name in federal government since Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, but drama surrounding the agency that regulates financial services like payday loans is anything but boring. [Big If True]
Activists to regents: ‘You’ve been given a rare do-over’: Former and current OU faculty and staff, international and domestic students, an NAACP member, LGBTQ representatives and advocates for Students in Recovery comprised a diverse lineup of speakers with a blunt message: Marginalized students at OU are suffering, and the search for a new president needs to be transparent. [NonDoc]
Disqualified Cherokee chief candidate files federal lawsuit seeking to get her name on ballot or election postponed: A freedmen descendant who was disqualified from the ballot for Cherokee Nation principal chief has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have her name put on the ballot or the election postponed so she has time to meet residency requirements. [Tulsa World]
Tribes to build production plant for bison meat: The Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes are ready to take a more active role in getting the nations’ bison herd to market by building a meat production plant, said Nathan Hart, tribal director of business. One of the first outlets to sell bison entrees could well be the restaurant at the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum now under development in Oklahoma City, he said. [Journal Record 🔒]
Quote of the Day
“In the past two years, there has been more organized advocacy among public education parents and supporters than ever before. Not coincidentally, in the past two years there has been more support for public education among legislators than ever before.”
-Jenks school board Melissa Abdo [Tulsa World]
Number of the Day
7 in 10
Minimum wage workers in Oklahoma who are women.
[Source: National Women’s Law Center]
Opioid addiction drug going mostly to whites, even as black death rate rises: Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, called the findings surprising and disturbing. Surprising because the disparity is so large, and disturbing because her agency has prioritized educating doctors about the value of prescribing buprenorphine. [NPR]
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