In The Know: Chesapeake Energy lays off hundreds of employees

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.

Today In The News

Chesapeake Energy lays off hundreds of employees: The yearlong oil price slump claimed hundreds more victims Tuesday when Chesapeake Energy Corp. laid off 740 employees, including 562 in Oklahoma City. The job cuts translate into about 15 percent of the company’s overall workforce and about 19 percent of the workers at its Oklahoma City headquarters. Before Tuesday’s cuts, Chesapeake recently laid off another 60 people [NewsOK].

Why Are So Many Women Behind Bars in Oklahoma?:  Over the last 20 years, Oklahoma has become the country’s capital of female incarceration, with 127 of every 100,000 women behind bars, double the national rate of 63 per 100,000.  But Oklahoma’s prisons aren’t filled with the fairer sex because Oklahoma women pose more of a threat than women elsewhere; the state simply penalizes women’s actions more forcefully—much more forcefully. At the same time, social safety nets have been cut away, limiting women’s options for other means of survival [The Nation].

Unusual tactics by Oklahoma District Attorney to discredit attempts to prevent execution of Richard Glossip: Michael Scott had previously been arrested in March on minor charges including driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of a residual amount of marijuana. In lieu of jail time, he was ordered to pay fines and perform community service, but had kept up with neither. (Scott says he was injured in a car accident and cannot work. When police showed up at his house last week, he owed less than $200.) But Scott says his arrest was not really about unpaid fines or community service. Scott says he was brought, in handcuffs, to an interrogation room at the Claremore police station, where he saw a folder with the following words written on it: “Richard Glossip” and “Stay” [The Intercept].

OKC panhandling ordinance part of a disturbing trend of criminalizing poverty: The Oklahoma City Council is holding a public hearing on an amendment to the city’s panhandling ordinance that would make it illegal to stand or walk in the median for the purpose of panhandling or collecting charitable contributions. The amendment would make panhandling from the median a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 [OK Policy]. The vast majority of people who took the podium for public comment wanted to tell the city passing the law would be a mistake [KFOR].

Oklahoma state rep: We need to act to protect prison staff: Several months ago while visiting a prison, I spoke to felons who were housed in a dorm-like facility. There were more than 100 beds crammed into a room normally used for education classes. One of the felons approached and said politely, “You see how we are crammed in here like sardines,  this is asking for trouble. We get very little yard time and you can’t keep us locked up like this because something is eventually going to go bad.” [Rep. Bobby Cleveland/NewsOK]

Regulatory groups release earthquake report: Energy and water regulators and researchers from more than a dozen states released a policy report Monday on understanding the links between energy production and triggered earthquakes. The report, from the StatesFirst initiative organized by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Ground Water Protection Council, surveys the latest research and policy options for regulators dealing with higher rates of earthquakes linked to wastewater disposal wells from energy production [The Oklahoman]. You can find the full report here.

Oklahoma Policy Institute to hold first Policy Boot Camp in Edmond: Oklahoma Policy Institute’s (OK Policy) first Fall Policy Boot Camp (FallPol) will be held on Saturday, October 3. The FallPol program is a condensed version of the four-day Summer Policy Institute (SPI), which OK Policy hosts for college students. It will consist primarily of overview presentations by OK Policy staff on the major policy issues they work on, including budget and taxes, education, health care and poverty [City Sentinel]. Learn more about the Fall Policy Institute here.

State aging initiative lays groundwork for shift in healthcare delivery: In 2012, 43 million Americans were age 65 or older. By 2050 that number is expected to double, soaring to 83 million, according to U.S. Census projections. The imminent challenge is delivering care — especially long-term care — to an aging population that will constitute 20 percent of the nation’s citizenry. The price tag will be huge. This demographic shift poses two questions: How to pay for care and how to deliver it? [NewsOK]

OKC attorneys: State should seek innovation waiver to ACA: Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), there have been references by state officials to the development of an “Oklahoma Plan.” So far, an alternative plan has not been proposed. The delay may be due to uncertainty over whether the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold the law.  However, now that Obamacare has been upheld, Oklahoma has an opportunity to develop an alternative to the ACA mandates that are so politically unpopular [Cori H. Loomis and J. Clay Christensen/NewsOK].

Oklahoma to remove Ten Commandments monument from Capitol by October 12: The Capitol Preservation Commission, which oversees art displays in public spaces, voted 7-1 to authorize the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to remove the monument. The Oklahoma Supreme Court in June had ordered the monument, which was erected in 2012, removed because the state constitution bans the use of state property for the benefit of a religion [Reuters].

Oklahoma Universities Struggle To Graduate Students: No Oklahoma college or university graduates more than two-thirds of its students, and 80 percent of colleges graduate less than half, according to newly released federal data. The U.S. Department of Education launched the College Scorecard on Sept. 12 to help prospective students find the schools they’re most likely to graduate from and land a job to pay off their loans. Data is pulled from tax returns, federal financial aid reports and the colleges and universities [Oklahoma Watch].

Quote of the Day

“Despite our current budget issues, we need to increase corrections pay immediately. Our corrections officer pay is one of the lowest in the nation. The low pay coupled with the inherent danger that comes with the job pushes people away from a career in corrections and new recruits drop out quickly. In fact, we’re losing upwards of 50 percent of new recruits in less than a year due to workplace violence.”

-Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville (Source)

Number of the Day


Average student debt at the for-profit DeVry University, the highest of all public and private universities in Oklahoma. Almost two-thirds of DeVry University’s students in Oklahoma are low-income.

Source: U.S. Department of Education via Oklahoma Watch

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

How the End of Black Wall Street Impacts Voting Rights in Oklahoma Today: Last Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day. The significance of this day has never been clearer to me than when I found myself in Tulsa, fighting for the voting rights of Oklahomans. I was meeting with local advocates about the state’s voter registration problems. Under Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), public assistance agencies must offer low-income citizens the opportunity to register to vote. Until recently, Oklahoma public assistance agencies were not complying with this law [Demos].

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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