In The Know: Cities on opioid lawsuit; second hope for consent education; bill protects agribusiness from lawsuits…

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

Release: OK Policy launches search for new Executive Director: Oklahoma Policy Institute today launched a search for a new Executive Director to replace David Blatt, who announced last week that he intends to step down from his position once a new leader has been selected and brought on board. Applications will be accepted until Friday, April 26th. [OK Policy] The position profile and instructions on how to apply can be found at

In The News

Oklahoma City and 4 other cities seek clarification of order approving partial settlement in state’s opioid case: Oklahoma City and four other cities have asked to intervene in the state’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. They want to make sure a judge’s order approving a $270 million partial settlement won’t interfere with their independent efforts to pursue financial damages against Purdue drug companies. [NewsOK]

Oil, gas industry backs bill to boost Oklahoma Corporation Commission funds: Legislators on Tuesday advanced a measure that would provide the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division more dollars. If it were to become law, Senate Bill 519 would redirect apportioned revenues collected through an excise tax on produced oil from the state’s general fund into the division’s revolving fund. [NewsOK]

SB 926 offers second hope for ‘consent’ education: While HB 1007 failed amid syntax disputes, procedural rancor and subtle partisan tension, SB 926 passed thanks to concisely drafted language that Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd (D-OKC) said she received during a conversation with a constituent. [NonDoc] Just 24 states mandate sex education for K-12 students, and only 9 require any discussion of consent. [The 74 Million]

Bill would protect agriculture businesses from nuisance claims: A bill passed in both the House and Senate and forwarded to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt offers an important protection for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers in the state, the executive director of the Oklahoma Pork Council said. House Bill 2373, if signed into law, would limit noneconomic damages that might be awarded in “nuisance” lawsuits brought against producers. [Journal Record ????]

Bill would make pollution information secret for companies that self-audit: Conservation groups are taking aim at the Oklahoma Environmental, Health and Safety Audit Privilege Act as a poison pill that favors industry over those who seek to protect Oklahoma’s environment. At the crux of the issue is the creation of “privileged” status for reports created by entities that self-audit or hire contractors to conduct environmental compliance audits of their facilities. [Tulsa World]

Lawsuit against DHS claims agency ‘failed to protect children’: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, families and former employees are moving forward with a class action lawsuit that was filed against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. [KOCO] The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is under fire again as the agency faces a lawsuit from whistleblowers and Oklahoma families. [KFOR]

CASA encourages wearing blue on Friday: Child abuse is on the rise in Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Policy Institute. The group’s most recent data lists 15,289 cases of child abuse or neglect in 2017, nearly doubling 2009’s 8,605 confirmed cases. [Muskogee Phoenix]

Stevenson nomination to OU regent post sent on to full Senate: The Senate Education Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved Gov. Kevin Stitt’s nomination of an out-of-state alumnus to the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents. Stitt’s nomination of Eric Stevenson, of Westerville, Ohio, now moves to the full Senate for consideration. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma continues ‘bleeding’ college graduates: Oklahoma’s population growth rate is at its lowest since 1990 according to new study from the Kansas City Federal Reserve. That’s because Oklahoma lost more residents to other states than it gained over the past three years, with college graduates leading the way. [KGOU]

Winchester tapped as state’s tourism chief: The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department announced Tuesday the appointment of oil and gas executive Jerry Winchester as the agency’s executive director. He began the position Monday. [Journal Record]

Catholic Charities offers new employee loan program: As executive director of the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Patrick Raglow is all too familiar with the perils of payday loans. Many of the low-income families his nonprofit serves fall prey to the typical two-week, exorbitantly priced advances, he said. [NewsOK ????]

Federal legislation would sanction Muscogee Creek Nation until freedmen get citizenship: New federal legislation calls on the U.S. government to sever ties with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation until it gives full citizenship to the descendants of black Creeks known as freedmen. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Torres wins re-election to OKC School Board: About 40 minutes into her watch party Tuesday night on Oklahoma City’s southside, a tearful Gloria Torres told supporters she had some news. “I am very proud and very excited to say we did it,” she announced. [NewsOK]

Voters decide mayoral elections in Edmond, elsewhere: A number of important municipal races were decided by voters in and around the Oklahoma City metro area on Tuesday. In Edmond, voters chose to elect Dan O’Neil as their next mayor. On the ballot, O’Neil faced off against deceased mayor Charles Lamb. [NewsOK] David Chapman and Josh Moore won Edmond city council elections in Wards 1 and 2, respectively. [NonDoc]

Down the drain: Norman stormwater proposals fail: Norman residents approved a proposition addressing roads and defeated two propositions addressing stormwater today. [NonDoc]

Stacey Woolley handily defeats opponent in Tulsa school board District 1 election: Stacey Woolley emerged from Tuesday’s elections as the next holder of the Tulsa school board’s District 1 seat. Woolley, a stay-at-home mom and licensed speech-language pathologist, handily defeated opponent Nicole Nixon to secure her place on the board for the next four years. [Tulsa World]

Change in alcohol law sought as Tulsa liquor distributor estimates $100M loss because of one little word: A Tulsa liquor distributor won the first round Tuesday in what he described as a fight against unfair business practices put in motion by Oklahoma’s alcohol modernization laws. [Tulsa World]

Joe Exotic found guilty in murder-for-hire case: In his 56 years of life, Joe Exotic has gone by a lot of different names and done a lot of different things. The Tiger King has been a zookeeper, a big cat breeder, a presidential candidate, a gubernatorial candidate, a nursing home aide and — according to him — even a police chief. [NewsOK]

Quote of the Day

“Even in the best times we’ve had in 30 years, still we’re slowly bleeding folks with bachelor’s degrees.”

-Economist Chad Wilkerson, whose study found that Oklahoma’s population growth rate is at its lowest since 1990 because the state is losing college graduates to other states [Source: KGOU]

Number of the Day


Change in new multifamily housing permits issued in Oklahoma in Q4 2018 compared to the previous year.

[Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Amid safety concerns, should schools invest in metal detectors or mental health? Whether they quell school violence, Kimball said, these new investments in child mental health services likely will result in higher graduation rates, lower incarceration rates and reduced spending for health care and social services. More than half of lifetime mental illnesses begin before age 14, according to NAMI, yet the average person waits 10 years after the first symptoms occur before getting treatment. [Stateline]

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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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