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.
In The News
Board broke tradition in setting medical marijuana rules, author unknown: The State Board of Health deviated from its normal procedures in adopting a framework for Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry, even overruling their own attorney after she warned their actions could prompt a lawsuit. In the past, the board has relied on its general counsel to craft proposed regulations. But on Tuesday the board approved two major rules, the origins of which remain unclear [NewsOK]. One of the many provisions Oklahoma health officials included in their medical marijuana regulatory framework will likely create significant cost increases for growers looking to enter the industry [Journal Record]. Oklahomans will have many legal questions about medical marijuana, but attorneys say existing rules might make it difficult to answer them [KGOU].
Medical marijuana ‘working group’ eyed at Oklahoma Legislature: Oklahoma legislative leaders said Thursday they will create a working group to address medical marijuana regulations just days after the Board of Health implemented controversial new rules. House Speaker Charles McCall and Greg Treat, who will serve as leader of the Senate next session, said the bipartisan committee will begin working with medical marijuana stakeholders to write policy conforming to voters’ intent [Tulsa World]. In the wake of Gov. Mary Fallin’s quick decision to authorize the state health agency’s controversial medical marijuana regulations, onlookers said the move highlights a widespread desire among elected officials for the ordeal to end [Journal Record]. The big winners in this week’s dust-up over the state Health Department’s medical marijuana overreach are proponents of recreational pot. Even before the health board imposed restrictions sure to be challenged in court, Green the Vote already had secured two-thirds of the signatures necessary to force a statewide vote on full legalization [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record].
6 Investigates: State of Oklahoma Seeing Decline in Daycares: Oklahoma’s population is on the rise, but the number of daycare centers across the state is shrinking significantly. In fact, there are just over 3,300 licensed daycares statewide right now. That’s down from almost 6,000 back in 2005. The decrease is hurting families as well as businesses. For Vanessa Tice, often the only way she can work is by holding her child because in Kingston by Lake Texoma, where she lives, there are currently zero licensed daycares. They’ve all closed [NewsOn6]. Child care is getting less accessible for Oklahoma’s working parents as the number of children receiving subsidized care has declined by one-third [OKPolicy].
ADA advocates say more voices need to be heard on disability issues: Like their national counterparts, members of OK ADAPT say they are “pissed off and passionate.” They are also proud of their independence, but that independence is limited by barriers that the Americans with Disabilities Act was designed to remedy. OK ADAPT members meeting at Progressive Independence on Tuesday said they feel the city of Norman failed to fully include them in the recent ADA plan update. [Norman Transcript]
OK School Districts Work out Teacher Pay Raise Implementations: Oklahoma teachers walked out of classrooms back in April to advocate for pay raises and education funding. Next month, the money they pushed for will impact districts when school starts. By law, each public school will provide the pay raise starting on the first paycheck. Oklahoma teachers will get an average of $6,100 each raise starting in August [News9].
Top Teacher Finalists Announced: Teresa Lansford doesn’t like to put limits on what her students can accomplish. “I set the bar really high,” said Lansford, 38, a teacher librarian at Lincoln Elementary School and one of 12 finalists for 2019 Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year. “I’ve always found that they can exceed my expectations. It’s always exciting to see what they can do” [NewsOK].
BHS Student Panel Schools Teachers: A bit of role reversal took place yesterday at the Bartlesville High School (BHS) Fine Arts Center, where students offered lessons to teachers. The panel of about a dozen area high school students shared insights and instructional tips during an area stop for the state education department’s traveling summer conference. The high school was a host site for the annual Engage OK on the Road Conference, which attracted hundreds of education professionals from around the area [Examiner-Enterprise].
Rogers County DA’s Office Going After People Who Haven’t Returned Movie Rentals: Residents in Rogers County who have held onto rented DVDs long after the due date are receiving letters from the county District Attorney’s Office seeking payment. The letters, from District Attorney Matt Ballard’s office, are part of a diversion program that allows his office to recoup funds for businesses while avoiding filing charges. Brian Surber, first assistant district attorney, said the program is meant to help businesses who rely on rented property to make a living [Tulsa World].
Tulsa Nonprofit Teaches Parenting Skills To Help Moms And Children Beat Addiction And Avoid Prison: Mothers struggling with addiction often have a hard time making connections with their children. This can be especially challenging for moms facing criminal charges and the prospect of jail or prison time. Experts say rebuilding these relationships can help mothers overcome their addictions — and even steer their children off the path to prison [StateImpact Oklahoma].
Visible Homeless Way up in OKC for 2018, Overall Homeless Numbers Down: The Point-in-Time Count report on homelessness in Oklahoma City released Thursday showed the total number of homeless people is down, but the homeless living outdoors is up drastically. This year’s count was conducted in the very early hours of January 25 by volunteers coordinated by City of Oklahoma City staff in the Community Development Division of the Planning Department [Free Press OKC].
Quote of the Day
“The parents just couldn’t afford their co-payments so they could bring their kids. They wanted to, but they just couldn’t afford it.”
-Oklahoma daycare owner Kent Lynn, who said increased regulation and decreased state funding have made it hard for daycares to serve low-income families at a price they can pay. He said he had to close a center this year due to low attendance. [NewsOn6]
Number of the Day
Number of Oklahomans enrolled in health coverage through Healthcare.gov as of March 2018. Of those enrollees, 95% received a federal subsidy that reduced monthly premiums from $694.25 to $28.79, on average.
Behind Bars, Mentally Ill Inmates Are Often Punished For Their Symptoms: The training [for a correctional officer] really suggests that you should take control, you should maintain control and when you feel like a situation or a person is getting out of control the response is to escalate. So: “Stand up. I told you to stand up. Stand up right now!” And it continues in that vein until the person complies or you have to use force to make them comply. For a person with a mental illness, particularly one who is paranoid, this is absolutely terrifying. It’s terrifying for anybody. It’s intended to be frightening, but for a person with mental illness it’s incomprehensibly terrifying, and so the result is often that the person with mental illness responds in exactly the opposite fashion … by lashing out or fighting back. And this leads to this cycle of escalation where really what you want to be having is de-escalation [NPR].
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