In The Know: Corrections Director abruptly resigns; new Medicaid expansion awareness campaign; more women dying in pregnancy…

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

End of Session Round-Up: A quiet year in taxes: Thanks to last year’s revenue increases and a strong economy, fueled especially by booming oil and gas revenues, lawmakers entered the 2019 session looking at a large budget surplus  It was clear from the start that tax policy would be far less prominent and contentious than in past years. Still, OK Policy included several tax policy items as part of our 2019 legislative priorities, and the outcomes were mixed. [OK Policy]

Prosperity Policy: Not a good year for everyone: The end of the legislative session last month was met with triumphant press releases from the governor and Republican legislative leaders. Though there were indeed winners this session, low-income Oklahomans were not among them. Instead, the session was defined by squandered opportunities. [David Blatt / Journal Record]

In The News

Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh abruptly resigns: Department of Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh abruptly resigned Wednesday during a Board of Corrections meeting. His resignation came after the newly constituted board elected officers. [Tulsa World] Allbaugh asked to address the board and left immediately following his remarks. He wished panel members well and called Department of Corrections staff the most dedicated people he’s worked with. [The Oklahoman]

Medicaid expansion campaign enters informational stage: Proponents of Medicaid expansion launched an “awareness campaign” Wednesday ahead of an expected initiative petition drive to get the issue on the 2020 general election ballot. Amber England, executive director of Oklahomans Decide Healthcare, said the group hopes to begin gathering signatures in late summer or early fall. [Tulsa World

Oklahoma Supreme Court to hear arguments over Medicaid petition: Opponents and proponents of Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma will appear before the state Supreme Court on June 18. That’s the date that has been set for oral arguments to be heard over whether an initiative petition calling for a statewide vote on the issue should be allowed to go forward. [Journal Record 🔒]

In Oklahoma, pregnancy for black women can be a matter of life and death: Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during or shortly after pregnancy than white women in Oklahoma. They also face higher rates of life-threatening complications related to pregnancy or birth. Experts and researchers say the issue is systemic and has myriad factors: Black women are more likely to experience barriers to quality health care, including racism and unconscious bias. They are also more likely to face economic hurdles and have chronic health conditions. [The Frontier]

More Oklahoma women are dying from pregnancy-related causes, and the reasons are myriad: In Oklahoma, the number of mothers dying during pregnancy or the 42 days after pregnancy is on the rise — the most recent measurement, taken from 2015 to 2017, shows the death rate for mothers increased by nearly 50 percent compared to the previous three-year period. Experts and researchers agree: There is no single cause. [The Frontier] Know what post-birth warning signs to watch for. [The Frontier]

Calling all data nerds: Oklahoma Checkbook launches for fiscal transparency: Oklahomans will be able to do far more than read a memo about state finances with the new Oklahoma Checkbook, which is aimed at increasing fiscal data transparency in the state. [NonDoc] Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday the launch of the state government’s new “Oklahoma Checkbook,” an updated web database designed to provide the public with real-time data on the state’s expenses and budgets. [Journal Record]

Panel adopts emergency rules for controversial liquor bill: The Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission on Wednesday approved emergency rules to implement a controversial new law governing the distribution of liquor. The fate of Senate Bill 608 is in the hands of the Oklahoma Supreme Court following a legal challenge. [Tulsa World]

OU regents: David Boren resigns as professor, ‘brings this matter to a close’: The University of Oklahoma’s Board of Regents announced this afternoon that former President David Boren has resigned his professorship, a move the regents said concludes their Title IX process and “brings this matter to a close.” [NonDoc]

Immigration researchers set record straight on 287g ICE partnership: Advocates for undocumented immigrants returned to a County Commissioner meeting on Monday morning, finding themselves forced to dispel inaccuracies and misinformation from statements made by Sheriff Vic Regalado, of Tulsa County, and other supporters of the 287g partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). [Black Wall St Times]

‘Humanitarian crisis’ sending immigrant youth to Oklahoma: As news spread Wednesday that one of Oklahoma’s largest military bases would once again be used to house thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children, Oklahoma’s governor said politicians in Washington must tackle immigration issues. [CHNI] The federal agency has not yet said when children will begin to arrive at Fort Sill or how many may be placed there. [The Oklahoman]

Inhofe blames Obama for return of unaccompanied immigrant minors to Fort Sill: Five years ago, Oklahoma’s Republican governor and congressional leadership reacted to the news that immigrant children were being housed at Fort Sill with alarm and demanded that then-President Barack Obama close the facility. This time around, some of them are singing a mellower tune. [Tulsa World]

Why Are Migrant Children Being Housed at the Site of a World War II Internment Camp? On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will begin holding unaccompanied migrant children at Fort Sill, a 150-year-old military base in Oklahoma. In World War II, the site was used as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans. [Rolling Stone] The Trump administration has been under fire for its treatment of migrant children, drawing comparisons to the U.S. government’s internment of Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants in the 1940s. [The Washington Post]

EPA announces grants for environmental cleanup in OKC and Tulsa: The Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded grants to Oklahoma City and Tulsa for the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how the EPA defines a brownfield site, the history of the program in OKC and how communities across the nation are benefiting from the grants. [KGOU]

Quote of the Day

“[Department of Corrections staff] are the subject matter experts. Please do not become the Legislature and treat them like second-class citizens.”

-Former Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh, speaking to the Board of Corrections after he abruptly resigned yesterday [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day

$260 million

How much additional revenue was brought in last September through April due to Oklahoma’s gross production tax increase on oil and gas drilling.

[Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

More low-income students are attending college, but they’re still playing catch-up on their wealthier peers: Despite the growing number of low-income students attending college, they’re still much less likely to pursue a bachelor’s degree — as opposed to an associate’s degree or certificate — than their wealthier peers, data released this week by the National Center for Education Statistics indicates. [Market Watch]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. Born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, she immigrated to Oklahoma with her family at a young age and obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Oklahoma City University as a Clara Luper Scholar. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked as an Inbound and Digital Marketing Specialist for an OKC based firm. She is an alumnus of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a Board Member for Dream Action Oklahoma, a community organization dedicated to advocating and empowering immigrant youth in the state.

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