In The Know: Credit agency says oil industry-linked earthquakes threaten economy

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

Credit agency says oil industry-linked earthquakes threaten economy: Analysts with Standard and Poor’s said the seismic activity may be a liability for energy companies and the oil and gas industry, and the credit risk could also affect home and business owners, transportation, infrastructure and utilities [StateImpact Oklahoma]. You read the full report from Standard and Poor’s here.

Oklahomans with disabilities say finding affordable housing is a challenge: Any time Veldon Gray needs to leave his home, his wife, Betty Gray, must try to navigate him and his wheelchair down the steps of the couple’s Oklahoma City apartment. Veldon Gray, 76, and his wheelchair together weigh about 215 pounds, not an easy load for Betty, 67, who has a pain pump in her back for degenerative discs. Advocates say the Grays’ situation points to a larger problem: the shortage of affordable housing for residents with disabilities [NewsOK].

Interactive – What the jobs are in Oklahoma: Politicians love to talk about jobs. Promoting job creation is a go-to justification in many of Oklahoma’s policy decisions, whether it’s to extend tax breaks for oil companies or ban local minimum wage and paid sick leave laws. However, aside from talking about job creation in very broad strokes, we don’t hear much discussion about what the jobs actually are in Oklahoma. In a new interactive visualization, you can dive into what jobs Oklahomans are working and how much they earn by industry [OK Policy].

State law taking effect Thursday bans tobacco at Oklahoma schools: Although most school districts ban tobacco on school property and at events, a state law taking effect Thursday mandates the ban. The law, House Bill 1685, was passed last session and signed by Fallin. It applies not only to school property but school-sanctioned events and transportation [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma tribes say no plans to enter marijuana business: The title of the symposium in San Diego in March was provocative: “Marijuana: the next big thing in Native American economic development?” At least five Oklahoma tribes or tribal operations were listed as attendees. Two of those tribes, however, as well as another not listed as attending the conference, said they have no plans to explore launching businesses that would grow or sell medicinal or recreational marijuana [Oklahoma Watch].

Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board makes more inmates eligible to apply for sentence reversal: Under revamped eligibility requirements approved Monday by the state Pardon and Parole Board, nonviolent Oklahoma inmates will be eligible to apply for sentence commutations after serving three years of a sentence. It will especially impact drug offenders, many of whom are serving 10- or 15-year sentences [NewsOK].

Gov. Fallin’s bill signings are often purely ceremonial: When Gov. Mary Fallin sits down to sign a bill, surrounded by stakeholders, lawmakers and even the press, there’s a chance her signature doesn’t have any effect. Some ceremonial signings occur well after she inks the actual bill, which can come during the rush of Oklahoma’s annual legislative session. During the ceremonies, though, Fallin writes on a replica of the bill that she already signed weeks or months earlier [Journal Record].

Ethics commission suspends rule prohibiting political fundraising on state property: The move essentially renders moot a federal lawsuit filed earlier by the state Democratic Party challenging the rules as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The Democrats complained that the rule had forced the party to cancel a July 25 fundraising event at Oklahoma City Community College and threatened another planned event at Redlands Community College [Tulsa World]. 

Quote of the Day

“Most women involved in the criminal justice system are suffering from untreated trauma, mental illness and or drug addiction. They are homeless, unemployed and oftentimes victims of domestic violence. They have on average two to three children. Once they enter the criminal justice system, they are assessed with multiple fines and fees, most of which support the criminal justice system itself. If they are arrested, jailed or sent to prison, they rarely receive services to address any of the issues that entangled them in the first place.”

-Tulsa businessman Ed Martinez Jr., writing in the Tulsa World that the business community and the state as a whole needs to do more to reduce female incarceration (Source)

Number of the Day


Average annual income for the more than 36,000 Oklahomans working at nursing and residential care facilities.

Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Why three counties that loved the death penalty have almost stopped pursuing it: Harris County, Texas District Attorney Johnny B. Holmes secured an average 12 capital sentences a year in the decade before his retirement in 2000. After that, the numbers fell sharply. Similar drop-offs have occurred in two other counties in the top 2 percent, Oklahoma County, Okla., and Philadelphia County, Penn. The number of new capital sentences decreased significantly after prosecutors — each of them outspoken, even celebrity, proponents of the death penalty — either resigned or didn’t seek reelection [The Marshall Project].

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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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