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
Policy Matters: Why Oklahoma? Let me count the ways: “Why Oklahoma?” – that’s probably the question I am asked most often when I announced I was returning to my home state to serve as executive director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute after nearly two decades away. [Ahniwake Rose / OK Policy]
In The News
ACEs research panel describes how workplaces can help Oklahomans heal from trauma permeating the state: Oklahoma can foster healing throughout the state with a cultural shift on how trauma is viewed to develop more understanding and less judgment of behaviors exhibited by a person who has endured adversity. The state is No. 1 in the U.S. for kids who have experienced ACEs, which are strong predictors of cognitive, behavioral and physical health, and mental wellness problems. ACEs include household dysfunction, neglect, abuse, poverty, crime, substance abuse and mental illness. [Tulsa World]
Advocates day childhood trauma, system gaps push up domestic violence rates in Oklahoma: Nearly 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men in Oklahoma have experienced intimate partner violence during their lives, and a Tulsa lawmaker wants to reduce those rates. State Rep. Denise Brewer’s interim study on domestic violence was held Wednesday. One witness said Oklahoma’s high rates of childhood trauma may contribute to its high rates of sexual and domestic violence. [Public Radio Tulsa]
Corrections officials plan to ask lawmakers to fix pay raise issue: Department of Corrections officials plan to seek legislation next session to give raises to 432 employees who didn’t receive a pay increase lawmakers had intended for them to get this year. During a meeting Wednesday in Oklahoma City, the Board of Corrections approved a list of legislative requests for the upcoming session, including legislation to fix the pay raise problem. [The Oklahoman]
Oklahoma prosecutors question proposal to free more inmates: Oklahoma’s district attorneys are raising concerns about a proposed new ballot measure aimed at further reducing the state’s prison population. The proposed state question filed on Tuesday would prohibit prosecutors from using previous nonviolent felony convictions to enhance prison sentences. [Public Radio Tulsa] OK Policy analysis showed key elements that should be taken into account as Oklahoma takes steps to address its outdated criminal code.
Tulsa World editorial: Gov. Kevin Stitt pardons the woman whose witness led him to understand the need for criminal justice reform in Oklahoma: Last week, Gov. Kevin Stitt officially pardoned Rhonda Bear, the woman whose advocacy won his heart for the cause of criminal justice reform in Oklahoma. As Bear’s life demonstrates, salvaging lives by addressing underlying issues, such as addiction, is a far more promising path. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes loan forgiveness for teachers: Oklahoma is trying to hold onto teachers, and one lawmaker says he has an idea to help. “I want to propose a bill that would forgive student loans for our Oklahoma kids coming out of Oklahoma colleges and teaching in Oklahoma classrooms,” said State Representative John Waldron. [KTUL]
School officials eye ways to bring ACT scores up to snuff: Concerns have been raised in Oklahoma after reports showed statewide ACT scores have again declined in the past year. According to Oklahoma Watch, the average composite score dropped by .4 points to 18.9, which was 47th in the nation. Out of 15 states that tested 100 percent of its students in 2019, Oklahoma was 12th in ACT scores. [Tahlequah Daily Press]
State Sen. Nathan Dahm pushes tax credit for gun safety classes: A prominent proponent of Oklahoma’s permitless carry gun law said Wednesday he wants the state to provide tax credits for people who take gun safety classes. Wednesday, Dahm said he’s filed legislation providing tax credits to cover the cost of safety courses as well as expenses associated with acquiring gun licenses for those who choose to get them. [Tulsa World]
(Audio) Oklahoma leaders attempt to grow tourism industry: Oklahoma leaders met last week to discuss how to attract development near the state’s lakes, especially through public-private partnerships. Journal Record reporter Steve Metzer discusses Oklahoma’s tourism industry, how the legislature is incentivizing corporate investments, and the state’s reliance on sales tax revenue. [KGOU]
Cannabis stirring pot in local real estate markets, expert says: Cannabis continues to make its mark in the commercial real estate sector, a local broker said at a conference Wednesday. [Tulsa World]
Metro teacher develops MAPS 4 curriculum to teach civic engagement: Social Studies teacher Aaron Baker has developed a three-day MAPS 4 curriculum and released it Wednesday night to anyone who wants to use it. The teacher saw a golden opportunity to both teach Oklahoma City government to his Oklahoma History class and encourage engagement of parents in the process, too. [Free Press OKC]
TU faculty votes ‘no confidence’ in President Gerard Clancy, Provost Janet Levit: A large majority of University of Tulsa professors who cast ballots Wednesday turned thumbs down on the leadership of President Gerard Clancy and Provost Janet Levit. It is unclear what effect the nonbinding vote will have on university policy, the administration or implementation of True Commitment. Just last week the university’s trustees made clear that they intend to press forward with the reorganization plan with Clancy and Levit at the helm. [Tulsa World]
Testimony ends as Delaware County residents seek injunction against permits for poultry farm: Witness testimony wrapped up on Wednesday in a lawsuit brought by Delaware County residents against the Oklahoma Water Resource Board that is seeking an injunction to prevent the water board from issuing any more short-term groundwater permits to a nearby poultry farm. [The Frontier]
Appellate judges order Fontenot’s release: Lawyers representing a former death-row inmate whose conviction and life sentence for a 1984 murder of an Ada woman was overturned in August will file this week proposed conditions for his release from prison in December. [CNHI]
Quote of the Day
“A lot of the safety nets that we need in place in conjunction with core funding to our social services and punitive policies around criminal justice all kind of go together in this bucket that creates an environment that is not as conducive for child and family well-being as we would like.”
-Julie Miller-Cribbs, director of OU-Tulsa’s Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work [Tulsa World]
Number of the Day
Total number of American Indian and Alaskan Native-owned businesses in Oklahoma in 2012.
Tribes shut out of ‘Opportunity Zone’ deals: Native American tribes across the country were left out of a major part of a new federal tax incentive for opportunity zones, with their governments unable to pool investments to support projects in some of the nation’s poorest areas. [Oklahoma Watch]
Note: November is Native American Heritage Month. We recognize and celebrate the history, cultures, and contributions of American Indian and Alaska Native people in the state and across the country.
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