In The Know: Changes to school funding formula; upward trend in fatal officer shootings; governor forum highlights policy differences…

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

Group unveils proposed changes to how Oklahoma funds schools: Oklahoma is moving closer to changing the way it funds schools after a yearlong look at the education funding formula by a group of lawmakers and educators. The group’s proposed tweaks include a greater emphasis on low-income students, a revised definition of English language learners, and fewer categories of students based on grade level. [Oklahoma Watch]

Fatal officer-involved shootings this year continue recent upward trend: It’s unclear what sparked the increase in fatal shootings in recent years. The demographics of the deceased have stayed relatively consistent, according to public records and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation data reviewed by The Frontier — about 3/4ths of the people fatally shot by law enforcement are white, about 20 percent are black and the remainder are Native American or Hispanic. [The Frontier] Family members of a man who was fatally shot during an encounter with Tulsa police on Christmas Day have filed a lawsuit claiming an officer used excessive force. [AP News]

Forum highlights where Edmondson, Stitt disagree on policy: On paper and on the stage Monday, Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson are markedly different candidates with divergent views on how to run the state government.Stitt, the Republican nominee for governor, will face Democrat Drew Edmondson and Libertarian Chris Powell in the Nov. 6 general election. Powell was not included in the forum, but he stood with supporters outside the forum venue in downtown Oklahoma City on Monday. [NewsOK] You can watch a video of the Oklahoma gubernatorial debate here.

Observers have their eyes on gubernatorial, statewide races: With candidates finalized, Oklahoma’s politicos are deciding which races will be worth watching over the next few months. The race for Oklahoma’s open governor’s seat promises to be interesting. Less than two months before the election, SoonerPoll showed Republican Kevin Stitt and Democrat Drew Edmondson performing pretty closely: 46.6 percent of respondents favoring Stitt and 44.2 percent supporting Edmondson. [Journal Record ????]

Experts disagree on GOP shift: Many of those who lost their elections were not supportive of tax increases for education. Some observers said that was a major issue in this election, but it represented a larger movement away from perennial spending cuts and toward ongoing investment in core services. However, others attribute the changes to temporary political circumstances, saying that the races don’t indicate a long-term change. [Journal Record]

Creeks tell US Supreme Court the ‘legalized local plunder of Indian lands’ didn’t end their reservation: In 1893, Congress directed federal representatives to travel to what was then Indian Territory and what is now eastern Oklahoma and convince Creek tribal members to hand over their land or break it into allotments. The meeting didn’t go well. The Creeks “would not, under any circumstances, agree to cede any portion of their lands to the Government,” wrote members of the Dawes Commission. Due to “this unanimity,” the federal commission told Congress it would “abandon” this approach. One hundred and twenty-five years later, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation says such abandonment by the Dawes Commission is evidence that Congress never formally disbanded its reservation. [NewsOK ????]

DVIS brings national walkout to Tulsa in support of Kavanaugh accuser: Tulsa-based Domestic Violence Intervention Services stood in solidarity with hundreds of organizations across the country in support of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman alleging Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.DVIS staff walked out of their offices Monday and onto the Tulsa County Courthouse plaza, where they stood in a line, in all black, to show that they believe and support Ford. [Tulsa World]

Inmates charge jailer Sunday night at Oklahoma County jail, tactical team responds: A group of Oklahoma County jail inmates escaped from their cells, charged a jailer and caused damage Sunday evening, a sheriff’s spokesman said. About 7:30 p.m. Sunday, inmates on the 12th floor, where violent offenders are kept, were able to pick locks and open cell doors to get out of their individual cells. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma Highway Patrol wants empty courtroom if testimony involves its pursuit policy during murder trial in trooper’s death: The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has asked a district judge to empty the courtroom if testimony comes up regarding the agency’s pursuit policy in a felony murder trial involving a state trooper’s death — another instance in which the agency has vigorously protected that document. In a 14-month span, state troopers led seven vehicle chases that resulted in eight deaths — two were uninvolved motorists — with the latest one being Lt. Meyer’s death. No discipline was handed down in any of the seven pursuits. [Tulsa World]

Will this generation make better priorities to protect the next generation? I attended an interim study this week requested by Sen. Greg McCortney (R-Ada) and Sen. Kay Floyd (D-OKC) that presented some excellent, if discouraging information on adverse childhood experiences (ACES.) Early childhood experts talked about what ACES are, the lifetime consequences of ACES, what the record shows about ACES in Oklahoma children, and what works to avoid ACES. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

OSU opens specialized clinic to boost access to substance abuse treatment: A new OSU Medicine clinic in Tulsa will focus on treating substance abuse disorders, especially addiction to prescription painkillers. The OSU Addiction Medicine Clinic is located at treatment center 12 & 12 and is affiliated with the addiction treatment leader the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. [Public Radio Tulsa]

OSU awarded $3.9 million from CDC to target obesity in Oklahoma: Oklahoma State University has been awarded nearly $4 million over the next five years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to tackle Oklahoma’s obesity crisis. Adair and Muskogee counties in eastern Oklahoma will be the initial counties targeted by this project. [Stillwater News-Press]

OSU researchers develop four new varieties of wheat: In the field of wheat genetics, there’s still room for greater diversity, researcher Brett Carver said. That’s being proven this month with the release of four new wheat varieties, some of which are responses to specific end-product demands expressed by the industry, the Oklahoma State University professor said. Wheat is Oklahoma’s largest cash crop, with more than 5 million acres of winter wheat sown annually worth about $500 million. [Journal Record ????]

Editorial: Oklahoma loosens grip on vices: After teachers filled the Oklahoma State Capitol this spring, they returned to classrooms having achieved a primary policy objective to move their state forward: legalization of bona fide roulette and craps table gaming. Wait, what? That barely makes any sense. All coyness aside, the bizarre circumstances that led to “ball and dice” gaming at tribal casinos stand as just one small story in a book that could be written about how 2018 became the year Oklahoma loosened its grip on several public vices. [William W. Savage III / NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“We really expect to get more calls and see more people come through our doors. If only one person in Tulsa sees this and comes to us or calls our crisis line, it will be worth 1,000 times the effort that we put into this.”

-Donna Mathews, chief operating officer of Domestic Violence Intervention Services, who said more women have been reaching out to DVIS in recent weeks, encouraged by support being shown to Christine Blasey Ford. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Federal grants awarded to Oklahoma community health centers to expand access to mental health and substance use disorder services

[US Department of Health and Human Services]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The hidden resilience of ‘food desert’ neighborhoods: Introducing a supermarket to a depressed area does little to improve people’s diets. Two food-policy scholars, Nathan Rosenberg and Nevin Cohen, argue that the real solutions lie in “upstream interventions” that address inequality: a higher minimum wage, stronger labor protections, more generous government benefits, and universal free school lunches. “There are no shortcuts to eliminating food poverty,” they wrote in a recent article in the Fordham Urban Law Journal. [Civil Eats]

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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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