In The Know: College graduates leave Oklahoma; OKC jail trust elects chair; Parole Board implementing reform…

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

(Capitol Update) An impossible job done as well as it could be by departing DHS Director: Recently on the radio I heard a pundit being asked about his opinion of the performance of the just-resigned British Prime Minister Theresa May. He said, “She had an impossible job and she did it poorly.” I thought of Ed Lake at the time (the impossible job part) wondering if he would remain head of DHS. [OK Policy]

ST Medical Monday: A Chat with Carly Putnam with the Oklahoma Policy Institute: On this edition of Medical Monday, as the Oklahoma Legislature has just recently completed its annual session, we offer a detailed review of whether and how our state’s lawmakers have addressed various medical and healh-related issues. Our guest is Carly Putnam with the non-profit, non-partisan Oklahoma Policy Institute, where she serves as Policy Director and Health Care Policy Analyst. [Public Radio Tulsa]

In The News

Report: More college graduates are choosing to leave Oklahoma: College graduates are leaving the state at the highest rate in at least 20 years. The latest issue of the Oklahoma Economist, a quarterly publication from the Oklahoma City Branch of the Federal Reserve of Kansas City, points out that four of the past five years — 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 — have seen the largest net outflow of college graduates since at least 1999. The net migration includes college graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma County jail trust elects chairwoman, hears report on jail conditions: Members of Oklahoma County’s newly created jail trust elected a chair and vice chair and discussed the most glaring issues at the jail facility, among other things, during their first meeting Monday afternoon. Tricia Everest, former assistant attorney general for Oklahoma and a civic and philanthropic leader, will serve as chair. Jim Couch, the former Oklahoma City city manager, will serve as vice chair. [The Oklahoman]

Pardon and Parole Board discusses implementing new criminal justice reform law: The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Monday discussed implementation of a recently passed criminal justice reform measure. Lawmakers passed and Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 1269, which takes effect Nov. 1. The measure would make the provisions of State Question 780 retroactive. [Tulsa World]

Marketing expert recommends $285 million marketing campaign to help abate Oklahoma’s opioid epidemic: It would take a nearly $285 million marketing effort to counteract the impact of a highly sophisticated marketing campaign that opioid manufacturers used to ramp up sales of their painkillers in Oklahoma, the head of an Oklahoma City advertising agency testified Monday. [The Oklahoman] Marketing expert ‘blown away’ by drugmaker’s opioids campaign. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma judge wants more answers on $85M opioid settlement: An Oklahoma judge is declining to approve the state’s proposed $85 million settlement with an opioid maker until he’s assured it complies with a new law targeting such deals. The attorney general’s office says Cleveland County Judge Thad Balkman on Monday ordered attorneys for both the state and Israeli-owned Teva Pharmaceuticals to file additional paperwork before he approves the settlement. [AP News]

Pastor puts human face on Oklahoma’s opioid epidemic: During one of the darkest hours of his life, Norman youth pastor John McGregor took a syringe intended for horses and used it to shoot heroin into his body. McGregor, 34, said his downward spiral began years earlier when he obtained a prescription for Lortab and took his first opioid pill. He never envisioned the depths to which he would plunge, he said. [The Oklahoman]

‘A heart the size of Oklahoma’: Former Sen. Earl Garrison dead at 78: Former Oklahoma State Sen. Earl Garrison has died at age 78. According to a death notice in the Muskogee Phoenix, Garrison died early Monday. A rancher and former school superintendent, Garrison served 12 years in the Oklahoma State Senate, the duration of which spanned Democrats’ transition from the majority party to the minority party. [NonDoc]

Aviation and aerospace get boost from Legislative session: The legislative session has concluded, and the aviation and aerospace industry in Oklahoma benefited from several bills ensuring the viability of the state’s second largest industry. Over 20 bills were filed directly or indirectly affecting the aviation community. [Wagoner County American-Tribune]

Ag Department offering course to help produce growers meet new guidelines: Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is partnering with Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center to offer a class that satisfies the produce farm supervisor’s training requirement of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, according to an event press release. [Enid News & Eagle]

Civic Saturday: Decisions are made by those who show up: I did not used to vote regularly. I’d try to make it out to the presidential elections and maybe the midterms, but that’s about it. I definitely didn’t know who my city councilperson was, much less my state legislators. I don’t think I realized we elected county officials at all. [Andy Moore / NonDoc]

Organizations team up to address HIV epidemic in Oklahoma: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has listed Oklahoma as one of the seven rural states with the highest rates of HIV infection. Nearly 300 new diagnoses were added in 2017 to the 6,000 people living with HIV in Oklahoma, officials said. The organizations ASP Cares pharmacy, Diversity Family Health and Guiding Right Inc. have teamed up to make the medication PrEP available without cost to Oklahomans. [KOCO]

Business owner looks for solutions to waste left behind from homeless community: Even though Oklahoma City’s homeless population has decreased by nearly 40% in the last decade, property owners near the city’s only low-barrier day shelter say there has been an increase in litter and loitering. One business owner believes trash cans, portable toilets and benches could be part of the solution, and it seems his requests will be met. [The Oklahoman]

Harroz, legislators address Norman business community: Speaking to a crowd of local business and civic leaders, interim University of Oklahoma President Joseph Harroz broadly outlined his vision for OU. Acknowledging that the past academic year was a difficult one for the OU community, Harroz said the challenges facing the university can be overcome. [Norman Transcript]

Budget for OKC public schools rises to $676 million: The Oklahoma City School Board has approved a budget of nearly $676 million for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The board approved the budget Monday, which included an increase of nearly $77 million. Chief Financial Officer Jean Bostwick said recent legislation supporting teacher pay raises and operational costs was the source of growth in the FY 2020 budget. Expected bond sales also contributed. [The Oklahoman]

OKCPS private, charter school shuffle begins: With several buildings being open after the Pathways to Greatness consolidation, the private and charter school building shuffle began in earnest Monday night for Oklahoma City Public Schools. The vote of the OKCPS Board set in motion the moves of several existing charters and even a private school into the now-open buildings around the district. [Free Press OKC]

Drone development aims to fill severe weather prediction gap: Researchers at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University are jointly developing drone technology to more accurately forecast the weather. Phil Chilson, professor at the OU School of Meteorology, said the university has tried to use drones in meteorology since 2008, but their efforts advanced in 2015 with National Science Foundation funding, The Journal Record reported. [The Oklahoman]

Sales tax trend reflects growing Oklahoma City economy: The city of Oklahoma City closes the budget year on a fiscal high note. Sales tax revenue for the June reporting period increased 3.1% from 2018, beating the target for the month. For the year, the city received $256.3 million for the general fund, the primary account for day-to-day expenses. That was 0.35% above the budget target set a year ago. [The Oklahoman]

City updating its downtown, near-downtown housing study with an eye toward accelerated residential growth: For all of the talk about the resurgence of downtown Tulsa, city officials know the area won’t truly flourish until more people choose to live there. The same holds true for the neighborhoods that surround it. [Tulsa World]

Michael Overall: After all these years, Tulsa still benefiting from Great Depression WPA projects: As Joseph Koberling, one of Tulsa’s best Art Deco architects, was working on the design for Will Rogers High School in the mid-1930s, the Board of Education wanted him to make it more elaborate. Add more details. Use more ornamentation. [Michael Overall / Tulsa World]

Public meeting for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre mass graves investigation rescheduled: The first public meeting to discuss plans to begin the investigative process into the search for mass graves from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has been rescheduled to late June. Severe weather pushed the original May date back, the city of Tulsa announced Monday. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa County Commission gets an earful on 287g: From the fairness of U.S. immigration laws to whether “a Tet Offensive” is being organized in backwoods immigrant camps, Tulsa County Commissioners heard more than two dozen arguments Monday morning for and against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287g programs. [Tulsa World]

What a reporter learned from a Cherokee Family: After spending time with Chad and Dr. Jennifer Brackeen in a suburb of Fort Worth, I felt I could tell their story about why they are challenging a 40-year-old law that may block them from adopting two Native American children. But in reporting the article, I also needed to understand why the law means so much to tribes and why Native Americans feel that Native foster care children should be adopted by Native families. So I traveled to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma to speak with tribal lawyers and a Cherokee family who has been fostering and adopting Cherokee children through this law. [New York Times]

Quote of the Day

“Having more college graduates move out than move into the state can affect total educational attainment, which in turn could affect overall incomes and tax revenues, as higher-educated people tend to earn and spend more.”

-Chad Wilkerson, economist at the Oklahoma City Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, on his finding that over the past 5 years Oklahoma has had an average net outflow of 5,300 college graduates per year [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


How much greater the reduction in infant mortality between 2010 and 2016 was in Medicaid expansion states compared to non-expansion states.

[Source: Georgetown Center for Children and Families]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Licensed undocumented immigrants may lead to safer roads, Connecticut finds: Four years after implementing a policy to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, Connecticut has seen a reduction in hit-and-run crashes and a steep decline in the number of people found guilty of unlicensed driving. More than 50,000 undocumented immigrants in the state have taken written exams, vision tests and road tests to obtain driver’s licenses, funneling several million dollars into the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. [NPR]

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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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