In The Know: A ‘common decency issue’ for Oklahomans; agreement on opioid settlement; Supreme Court vacancy…

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.

New from OK Policy

Meet OK Policy: Budget & Tax Senior Policy Analyst Paul Shinn: I monitor and evaluate Oklahoma state and local government budget and tax policies. Most importantly, I participate in a team effort at OK Policy that helps makes financial aspects of government as clear as possible. This helps our supporters better understand how tax and budget affects them and the issues that are important to them. [OK Policy]

KIDS COUNT Data Book: Oklahoma in bottom 10 for child well-being: Oklahoma ranks in the bottom 10 states in the nation for child well-being with an overall ranking of 42nd out of all 50 states according to the 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book — the most comprehensive annual report on child well-being in the United States — notes measurable progress for the nation’s kids since the first Data Book, which was published in 1990. [NonDoc]

In The News

Medicaid expansion ruling puts pressure on Oklahoma’s governor, Legislature: Within a matter of hours last week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court solidified the state’s political landscape by upholding an effort to bring an expansion of health coverage for uninsured and low-income Oklahomans to a statewide vote. [The Oklahoman]

Medicaid expansion is a ‘common decency issue’ for Oklahomans, supporters say: Tulsa resident Kelly Smalley just wants to feel better again and go back to work. Smalley, 47, lives with myriad health problems including multiple sclerosis and seizures that prevent her from working or driving. Those two issues prompted her and others to be the proponents on an initiative petition seeking to let people vote on expanding Medicaid. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa World Editorial Board: Time is running out for state Capitol solutions to Oklahoma’s health care challenges: An initiative petition seeking Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma is clear and constitutional, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. Only hours after hearing oral arguments on an Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs challenge to the Medicaid expansion effort, the high court cleared the way for petition circulation to begin. [Tulsa World]

State leaders reach agreement on $85 million opioid case payment: An agreement has been reached between state lawmakers and Oklahoma’s attorney general in a dispute over how proceeds from a pending $85 million settlement with opioid maker Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. will be handled, Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman said Friday. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Supreme Court vacancy draws seven applicants, mostly judges and Republicans: A vacant Oklahoma Supreme Court seat has drawn seven applicants, six of them sitting judges on state courts. The vacancy is in a nine-county district in northern Oklahoma and was created when John R. Reif retired from the court. [The Oklahoman]

Decline in OHP tickets continues well after driving restrictions on trooper lifted: Two years after the Oklahoma Highway Patrol lifted a 100-mile-per-shift driving limit on troopers in a cost-saving move, the number of tickets written has yet to recover, according to a Tulsa World analysis of state ticket data. Despite the agency canceling the driving cap in June 2017, troopers wrote 25% fewer tickets in 2018 compared to 2016, records show. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa Public Schools reports about 200 fewer teachers have left the classroom this year: Significantly fewer Tulsa Public Schools teachers left the classroom so far this year compared to 2017-18, signaling an improvement in retention efforts. About 215 of the district’s educators stopped teaching in the 2018-19 school year as of June, compared to about 415 in all of 2017-18, said Quentin Liggins, director of talent initiatives at TPS. [Tulsa World]

Challenges to watch as OKCPS ‘pathway’ is implemented: The battle over Classen SAS High School and Northeast Academy grabbed most of the attention during the June 10 Oklahoma City Public Schools board meeting, but new, complex challenges were also revealed. The Board heard a Planning Department report on the number of OKCPS graduates who require remediation in college. [NonDoc]

Mental health treatment facility proposed for MAPS 4 would also help the county jail: A mental health treatment facility will be one of many proposals for MAPS 4, meeting the increased desire from residents to fund social service projects and help reform the struggling county jail. [The Oklahoman]

OU: Jess Eddy subjected to ‘hostile working environment’: The University of Oklahoma’s Institutional Equity Office has determined that Jess Eddy “had been subjected to a hostile working environment.” The former employee formally filed a complaint under OU’s Title IX process in May, and Eddy has publicly alleged that former OU President David Boren kissed him and touched his butt during multiple meetings in 2011 and 2012. [NonDoc]

Dems consider reprimands for members; ex-officials draw fire for crossing party lines to support AG candidate: The Oklahoma Democratic Party this year condemned more than two dozen current and former elected Democrats for publicly supporting Republican candidates in the 2018 election. [The Oklahoman]

Senate advances defense spending plan; Harjo named poet laureate: Over the past week, the U.S. Senate voted to proceed to a major defense measure sponsored by Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OKC) amid escalating tensions with Iran, the House approved its first minibus spending bill without a crucial budget agreement and Tulsa native Joy Harjo made history by becoming the first Native American to be named the nation’s Poet Laureate. [NonDoc]

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to speak at Dick Conner Correctional Center graduation: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will visit a state prison in Hominy on Tuesday to celebrate a record number of incarcerated students graduating from educational programs. [Tulsa World]

‘Stop repeating history’: Plan to hold migrant children at former internment camp draws protests: For Satsuki Ina, who was born in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II, the news that the United States would detain undocumented migrant children at this Army base in Oklahoma felt like an unwelcome wallop from the past. [New York Times]

Quote of the Day

“We are here to say, ‘Stop repeating history.’”

-Satsuki Ina, who was born in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II, at a protest of plans to detain 1,400 undocumented children at Fort Sill [New York Times]

Number of the Day


Percentage of all Oklahoma prison admissions in 2017 that were due to a violation of the terms of probation or parole.

[Source: Council of State Governments]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Babies Are More Likely to Die in States That Didn’t Expand Medicaid: Fourteen states have not expanded Medicaid, and the result can be deadly: States that expanded Medicaid saw a reduction in infant mortality — from 5.9 to 5.6 deaths per 100,000, while the rate slighty rose in nonexpansion states — from 6.4 to 6.5 deaths per 100,000. [Governing]

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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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