In The Know: Child abuse prevention funds restored; police mental health training; 2018 voter guide…

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

A year after cutting child abuse prevention funds, state OKs new grants: The Oklahoma Department of Health has restored funding for child abuse prevention after it was cut during the state’s budget crisis nearly a year ago. Nonprofit community agencies across the state will again receive their share of about $2 million, which will be used for in-home support of new parents. Before the program was defunded, it served 700 families who were expecting a child or had young children in the home. [NewsOK]

Advocates: More mental health crisis training needed for police statewide: About 1,500 law enforcement officers across the state have worked with mental health officials on crisis intervention training, but specialists said that number needs to and will keep growing. As Oklahoma comes to grips with its growing demand for mental health services, government entities at all levels are reassessing their role in addressing those needs. [Journal Record]

Introducing… the 2018 Oklahoma Voter Guide: The 2018 Voter Guide  is a project of the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma with contributions from Oklahoma Watch and other nonprofit and for-profit organizations.This guide provides a nonpartisan, impartial review of the five state questions on Oklahoma’s general-election ballot, lists the candidates and offers basic voting information. It also compares stances on issues among the gubernatorial candidates. [Oklahoma Watch] You can also find election information, State Question fact sheets, and voter tools on our #OKvotes page. [OK Policy]

SQ 793 could affect more than just consumer’s eye-care options in Oklahoma: Kandace Howell has two children and said it’s often difficult to find time to take them to eye appointments. “There’s so many things that go into your daily life as a parent,” Howell said. “It would just be more convenient.” Convenience is one reason she said she’s supporting State Question 793. [KTUL] Find background information, arguments by supporters and opponents, ballot language, and more on State Question 793 in our fact sheet. [OK Policy]

After oil and gas: Oil and gas continues to be a linchpin of Oklahoma’s economy and state budget. Last year, the gross production tax on oil and gas contributed $700 million to the state Treasury. With higher energy prices than the previous two years and recent legislation that raises the gross production tax rate, oil and gas revenues should be considerably higher in the short term.Yet fossil fuel reserves are a nonrenewable resource and it is certain that eventually Oklahoma will see greatly reduced oil and gas production.Preparing for that post-fossil fuels future is the primary rationale for State Question 800, which Oklahoma voters will decide in November. [David Blatt / Journal Record] Find more on State Question 800 in our fact sheet. [OK Policy]

Young people, make government what you want: Vote: As young people, it can feel as if we are occupying an age in which someone else decides the rules. Only about 46 percent of eligible millennial voters turned out for the 2016 presidential election, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we feel like someone else is deciding our state’s rules. As young citizens, however, we forget that we have the right to make government what we want. We have the power to make better rules. [Ben White / NonDoc] In One Minute: Facts about registering to vote. The deadline nears. [Oklahoma Watch]

Edmondson, Stitt agree on some objectives but not on how to pay for them: Gubernatorial candidates Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson seem to agree on quite a few things they think Oklahoma needs to do. What they don’t agree on is how to pay for them. Democrat Edmondson and Republican Stitt both told the Rotary Club of Tulsa on Wednesday that education needs more money, fewer Oklahomans should be in jail, and the state is last or nearly last in too many categories it shouldn’t be. [Tulsa World]

Abortion, recreational marijuana and other things: 5 takeaways from Tulsa’s gubernatorial debate: Gubernatorial candidates Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson faced about 30 minutes of questions during a forum hosted by the Rotary Club of Tulsa on Wednesday afternoon at downtown’s First United Methodist Church. Stitt, a Republican, and Edmondson, a Democrat, touched on topics ranging from abortion, to recreational marijuana, to the possibility of school districts using property tax revenue for operational costs. [The Frontier]

Observers: Election will direct the trajectory of criminal justice reform: November’s election will play a large role in Oklahoma’s criminal justice reform movement and its trajectory moving forward. Some of the most prominent lawmakers in the committees handling criminal justice matters have been ousted, and the attorney general is also up for re-election. Observers said those will be some of the most important races. [Journal Record ????]

Cleveland County drug court offers graduates new start: Five participants recently graduated from Cleveland County Drug Court, which drew accolades from Gov. Mary Fallin, as well as regional officials. Cleveland County District Judge Michael Tupper sat over the proceedings. Graduate Billy Durbin said his success came from following Tupper’s advice to show up, be honest and try. [NewsOK]

A worthwhile effort to aid OKC students: Considering the substantial number of adults who struggle with mental illness in Oklahoma — our rate among adults is among the nation’s highest — it stands to reason that many youngsters are impacted. A survey of Oklahoma City Public School students bears this out. The survey of district students was conducted in September 2017 as part of an initiative, called Embrace OKC, that focuses on improving mental health outcomes. [Editorial Board / NewsOK]

Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Task Force under authority of Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office: The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office will assume authority over the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Task Force, authorities announced on Thursday. The announcement came after the move received support from gubernatorial candidates Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson. [KFOR]

Marijuana Working Group continues testing talk, discusses dispensary products: In its 11th meeting, Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Working Group got more information about testing and started talking about potential rules on products dispensaries will offer. Lawmakers have concerns about whether there will be enough labs to test marijuana products. [Public Radio Tulsa] An Oklahoman man plans to open a bank for medical marijuana businesses. [News On 6]

Planning commission approves Tulsa’s proposed zoning regulations for marijuana businesses: The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission signed off Wednesday on the city’s proposed zoning regulations for medical marijuana businesses. The regulations limit dispensaries to mixed-use and certain commercial and industrial districts, and they cannot be within 1,000 feet of another dispensary. [Public Radio Tulsa] Moore approves its own medical cannabis rules. [Muskogee Phoenix]

Gun-rights rally to be staged outside Gathering Place: The Gathering Place’s ban on firearms has goaded a Second Amendment group into action.A rally planned this month at the Gathering Place will be a peaceful demonstration by folks exercising their rights, an organizer said Wednesday.Don Spencer, president of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, said members of his organization plan a demonstration at 10 a.m. Oct. 13 across the street from the main entrance to the park. [Tulsa World]

NextEra agrees to pause wind farm work to avoid potential litigation, attorney general announces: A developer building two wind farms in west-central Oklahoma has agreed to halt its work to stop potential litigation, for now. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced Tuesday that his office, representing the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, negotiated the agreement with Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources. [NewsOK]

Quote of the Day

“If half of us vote in November, politicians will sit up and take notice, because even the most entrenched insiders fear losing elections. We want our state’s leaders to fear our voting power because they won’t consider us if they don’t.”

-University of Oklahoma student Ben White, writing about why young Oklahomans should vote [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


Chronic absence rate for Oklahoma students in the 2015-16 school year, below the national average of 15.5%.

[The Hamilton Project]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

What happens to police departments that collect more fines? They solve fewer crimes: Examining nearly 6,000 cities’ finance and crime data for each of the two studied years, we find a strong link between revenue collection and clearance rates. Police departments in cities that collect a greater share of their revenue from fees, fines and civilly forfeited assets have significantly lower rates of solving violent and property crimes. [Washington Post]

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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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