In The Know: A ‘D’ for preterm birth rates; more women legislators in 2019; educator caucus to keep pushing for funding…

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

March of Dimes gives Oklahoma a “D” for preterm birth rates: March of Dimes recently gave Oklahoma a grade of “D” on its annual Premature Birth Report Card. Oklahoma’s preterm birth rate in 2017 rose from 10.6 to 11.1 percent and the state remained at a “D” grade, according to the Nov. 1 report. “For the third year in a row, more U.S. babies were born too soon with serious risks to their health,” according to the March of Dimes press release. [Enid News & Eagle]

Oklahoma’s Legislature Will Have More Women in 2019: There won’t be any major partisan shifts in the makeup of the Oklahoma legislature following the 2018 election. But, the gender balance has changed–more women were elected to the Oklahoma House and Senate on Tuesday. Women will make up roughly 21 percent of the state legislature in 2019, an increase from about 14 percent. [KGOU]

‘Educator Caucus’ falls short of election goals, but vows to keep pushing for more school funding: It’s about 9 p.m. in Coweta, a rural town south east of Tulsa. The election results are still trickling in as Cyndi Ralston, a second-grade teacher -turned Democratic political candidate, steps on to the stage in the small event space where she’s having her watch party. [StateImpact Oklahoma] Dozens of teachers were elected to state office. Many more fell short. [Education Week]

The spirit of the teacher walkouts lived on in the midterms: The last time I saw Carri Hicks in person, she was wearing her newborn baby in a carrier on her chest as she filled out paperwork to register as a Democratic candidate for state senate, in Oklahoma’s Fortieth District. This was during a statewide teacher walkout, which came after a decade of cuts to the state’s education budget. [The New Yorker]

Oklahoma GOP Congressmen Will Need To Rely On Bipartisanship In Democratic-Controlled House: Despite a Democratic victory for Kendra Horn in Oklahoma Tuesday, the state’s delegation will have to rely on bipartisan solutions and potential compromise to maintain influence in a newly Democratic House of Representatives. Horn, who narrowly beat incumbent Steve Russell for Oklahoma’s 5th District, has been called “the biggest upset of the night” by polling site FiveThirtyEight. [KGOU]

Hern to take oath early: Tulsa’s Congressman-Elect Kevin Hern will get to drop the “elect” from his title next week. Elected just Tuesday, he will be sworn in this coming Tuesday.  Hern will take office immediately since Tulsa has been without congressional representation since Jim Bridenstine resigned to become NASA’s Administrator. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma Regents Seek $100M in New Funding for Colleges: The panel that oversees Oklahoma’s 25 public colleges and universities is asking the Legislature for $100 million in new funding, much of it for faculty raises. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education voted unanimously on Thursday to approve the $878 million budget request for the fiscal year that begins in July. [Public Radio Tulsa]

State, tribes enter into proposed multi-million dollar settlement agreement for mining sites, Tar Creek environmental cleanup: The state of Oklahoma and several Oklahoma-based American Indian tribes are part of a multi-state, multi-million-dollar environmental cleanup settlement agreement with a national steel company involving the Tar Creek Superfund site. [The Frontier]

OIPA and OKOGA merge, unify oil and gas associations: Oklahoma’s two largest oil and gas advocacy associations — are merging about two years after a disagreement over well-spacing legislation created tension among industry leaders. Once the legislation termed “long laterals” passed, the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association largely unified in efforts to oppose changes to the state’s 36-month incentive rate for gross production taxes on oil and gas wells. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma City files its own opioid lawsuit: The city of Oklahoma City filed suit Thursday against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, and several doctors, alleging their actions contributed to the opioid crisis, resulting in substantial costs to the city. The 80-page lawsuit was filed in Oklahoma County District Court. [NewsOK]

Bynum Calls for “Continuous Improvement” in Second State of the City: In his second state of the city address Thursday, Mayor G.T. Bynum said Tulsa is safer, more prosperous and planning for the future, and it’s time to build on that. Similar to his first state of the city, Bynum recapped accomplishments of the past year then announced several new initiatives. Among them is a renewal of the 2014 Improve Our Tulsa package. [Public Radio Tulsa]

OKC mulls TIFs for American Indian Cultural Center and Museum: Three new tax increment finance districts are being considered for the land surrounding the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.During the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, Economic Development Manager Brent Bryant said the $150 million in TIF money is needed to help spur the projected $750 million in private investment. [Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“My qualifications are not just that I’m a woman, but that’s certainly important and we need more women’s voices. Our communities are a lot more diverse than the people that we’ve been sending to represent us. And when you get different viewpoints and lived experiences then we can create better legislation.”

-Kendra Horn, speaking after she became the third ever woman to be elected to Congress from Oklahoma [Source: KGOU]

Number of the Day


Poverty rate for women in Oklahoma, compared to a 14.5% poverty rate for men in Oklahoma and a 14.5% poverty rate for women nationally.

[Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Medicaid expansion states covering more addiction treatment: States that expanded Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health overhaul reported spending their allocations more slowly than states that didn’t expand the health insurance program to poor, childless adults. Why? In states that expanded Medicaid, the insurance program already covers addiction treatment for nearly everyone who is poor and needs it. [AP News]

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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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