In The Know: ‘Bait and switch’ expected on Gov.’s Medicaid expansion; DOC lockdown lifted; and more

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

OK Policy released a statement Friday following the announcement that the Oklahoma Health Care Authority submitted Gov. Stitt’s Medicaid expansion proposal to federal officials: “We are disappointed to hear that the Governor continues to push his personal plan for Oklahoma healthcare versus the vetted, proven, and citizen-backed strategy of full Medicaid expansion.” Read full statement.

In The News

Oklahoma health officials begin Medicaid expansion process: The Governor’s administration is moving forward with plans to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income Oklahomans on July 1. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority on Friday submitted paperwork to expand Medicaid to adults ages 19-64 whose income does not exceed 133% of the federal poverty level, which is $16,970 annually for an individual and $34,846 for a family of four. [The Oklahoman] Gov. Stitt would then work to transition SoonerCare to the new Healthy Adult Opportunity Program, a capped-funding model recently announced by the current federal health care officials, and to enact restrictions like work requirements and monthly premiums — the plan he has dubbed SoonerCare 2.0. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Most DOC facilities resume normal operations, 6 remain in lockdown: Oklahoma Department of Corrections has returned to normal operations, including visitations, for all but six prisons. Three state-run prisons and three private prisons remain on lockdown, the agency reported Friday. ODOC initiated the security measure Monday night in response to a disturbance between about a half dozen inmates at Mack Alford Correctional Center. [CNHI / Enid News & Eagle]

State takes Epic’s management firm to court for refusing to provide records: Epic Charter Schools’ for-profit management company has refused to provide its financial records to the state auditor’s office, which has now asked a judge to intervene. [Oklahoma Watch] The state is drawing a hard line: Public education funds that flow to a private company are public. Founders of the state’s largest online charter school are fighting to shield those funds. [Oklahoma Watch] Potential conflicts of interest are not holding up Epic Charter Schools investigation, district attorney and state attorney general say. [Tulsa World]

The Oklahoman Editorial: COLAs seem likely for Oklahoma state retirees: State retirees who haven’t seen a cost-of-living adjustment to their pension since 2008 are likely to see that come to end this year. Approval of a COLA is favored by Republican legislative leaders. Before this year’s session began, Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall said they were encouraged by studies showing strong performances by Oklahoma’s pension systems. [Editorial Board / The Oklahoman] OK Policy has highlighted the need for a cost of living adjustment for Oklahoma’s civil service retirees, which was identified as one of OK Policy’s Legislative focus areas during this session.

Capitol Insider: Bills advance as state revenue concerns grow: Lawmakers have advanced a bill that would reduce the taxes on vehicle sales, which would be a win for consumers, but would mean less money in the state treasury in a time when gross receipts are dropping. Dick Pryor and eCapitol News Director Shawn Ashley talk about the week at the state Capitol. [KGOU]

State lawmakers wary of allowing commercial gaming into Oklahoma: Some state lawmakers are leery of opening the state to commercial casino gaming. Gov. Kevin Stitt said previously he has been contacted by a commercial operator interested in coming to Oklahoma, which has more than 130 tribal gaming operations. [Tulsa World]

Proposed constitutional amendment seen as balance to growing urban-rural divide: Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando, is author of House Joint Resolution 1027, a proposed constitutional amendment that would require initiative petitions to get the minimum signatures in each of the five congressional districts as well as statewide to make it to a vote of the people. The number of signatures required varies according to the type of measure and the year. [Tulsa World] Bill would overhaul rules governing citizen-led initiatives. [CNHI / The Norman Transcript]

State Crisis Response Team is a new service to grieving schools: The evening of the deadly crash in Moore, administrators heard from the Oklahoma State Department of Education: A new Crisis Response Team had been formed and they offered to help. The team, as it’s currently constructed, formed in January after two school psychologists were hired with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Others from the 25-member Crisis Response Team have been operating since March 2019 from the Office of Student Services. [The Oklahoman]

Educators interested in regalia bill, classroom safety: Questions ranging from a bill that would allow Native America students to wear tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies, to safety measures for teachers were posed to Lawton area legislators Thursday during an education forum. [Lawton Constitution]

‘You’ve got to compromise’: Rep. Harold Wright trying to limit indoor smoking: Considering the public health impacts of secondhand smoke, should bars in Oklahoma be able to allow indoor smoking? Those are the questions House Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright intends to pose his fellow lawmakers in HB 3384, which faces opposition from some bar owners, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association and the tobacco industry. [NonDoc]

Scrap metal theft can prove dangerous and costly, but legislative action may be on the horizon: Two bills advancing in the Oklahoma State Legislature are proposed refinements to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act, and aim to simplify and clarify its provisions to make them easier to understand and follow. [The Oklahoman]

Legislation would create fund to attract direct flights to Oklahoma: Cities with airports in Oklahoma could get a new tool to use for economic development if a bill authored by a state lawmaker continues to progress at the Legislature. State Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, said Senate Bill 1826 proposes to create a revolving fund that might be tapped to attract new direct airline flights into Oklahoma. [The Journal Record ????]

Self-driving cars, aircraft on Oklahoma Capitol minds: Oklahoma lawmakers appear to be considering this year, for the first time, how the state can play a role in a future autonomous economy. Two proposed measures would encourage testing of autonomous vehicles, one more directly than the other. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma protesters say ‘whoa’ to western water permit simplification bill: A bill, SB 1742, said to streamline water-well permit regulations for western Oklahoma ranchers, developers and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board has eastern Oklahoma water activists on edge. [Tulsa World]

In poultry water case, ruling opens door to challenge farms’ long-term water permits: Days after a judge determined the series of short-term 90-day groundwater permits issued by the state’s water board to a Delaware County poultry farm violated state law and agency rules, the water board issued one of the permits to a different Delaware County poultry operation, the farm’s seventh such permit since 2018, state records show. [The Frontier]

Quote of the Day

“Our grassroots campaign has forced the governor’s hand to expand Medicaid to nearly 200,000 Oklahomans because the people of this state are demanding it. But make no mistake, Gov. Stitt is going about this the wrong way and every Oklahoman should be concerned about the bait and switch that is coming next.”

-Amber England, campaign manager for Yes on 802 [The Oklahoman

Number of the Day

$1.8 billion

Amount of federal funding Oklahoma could lose over the next decade with a Census undercount of just 2%

[Source: Oklahoma Senate]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Census 2020: How community leaders in Oklahoma are working to prevent an undercount: It’s not just up to the federal government to ensure a complete count in the 2020 census. Across the country, some states have allocated tens of millions of dollars towards census outreach. Others, like Oklahoma, haven’t set aside any funding at all. [WNCY Studios]

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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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