In The Know: Criminal justice task force to hold first public meeting, lawmakers discuss challenges facing Indian Health Service, solar advocates make case for investment

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

Oklahoma governor’s criminal justice task force to hold first public meeting this week: A governor-created criminal justice reform task force that faced early criticism over a lack of transparency will start opening meetings to the public this week. The 15-member group is scheduled to hold its first public meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the attorney general’s Tulsa office. [The Oklahoman]

Lawmakers discuss challenges facing Indian Health Service: Lawmakers exploring strategies for improving access to health care in Oklahoma heard from two professionals involved in the Indian Health Service recently as they continued a series of meetings being held at the state Capitol. [Journal Record ????]

1 in 3 Oklahomans are Obese: More than one-third of Oklahomans are obese. New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that Oklahoma and seven other states reported obesity rates above 35 percent — just six years ago no states had obesity rates that high. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Unmet potential: Solar power advocates make case for more investment: Members of the Senate Energy Committee who gathered Monday at the state Capitol for an interim study session on the topic of solar power heard from a number of industry professionals and school officials who presented a case for the Sooner State investing more in solar energy. [Journal Record ????]

WalletHub study: Oklahoma one of the least ‘teacher-friendly’ states’: Despite increases to teacher pay in recent years, Oklahoma remains one of the least teacher-friendly states in the country, according to findings from finance website WalletHub. [CNHI]

Editorial: More accountability needed before capital funding for charter schools: The executive director of the Oklahoma State School Board Association, Shawn Himes, opened the first of the Sept. 11 House Common Education Committee’s interim studies on “Brick and Mortar Charter School Funding,” by explaining how Oklahoma is one of only four states that doesn’t fund capital expenses for its traditional public schools at the state level. [John Thompson / NonDoc]

Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist gets $25K bonus for retirement plan: Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist earned a $25,000 bonus for her retirement savings plan based on the passing grade she received on her annual evaluation Monday night. [Tulsa World]

Muscogee (Creek) Nation council rejects ballot question on press freedom: With minimal debate or discussion, an attempt to incorporate press protections into the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s constitution fell short Saturday morning. [Tulsa World]

Women still not allowed to go topless in public, Oklahoma attorney general says: It is still illegal for Oklahoma women to go topless in public, Attorney General Mike Hunter said Monday. [The Oklahoman] The city of Tulsa initially said Monday that it would adhere to a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling clearing the way for women to be topless in public. [Tulsa World]

OKC police officers agree to new contract: Oklahoma City police officers have overwhelmingly approved a new one-year union contract anchored by a 2.1% pay raise. The contract is retroactive to July 1. The city council is expected to ratify the agreement Oct. 8. [The Oklahoman]

EPA releases final Tar Creek Strategic Plan: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in cooperation with the state of Oklahoma and the Quapaw Nation, has released the Final Tar Creek Strategic Plan to advance the cleanup of the Tar Creek Superfund site. [CNHI]

405 area code nearing exhaustion: With growing demand for phone numbers in central Oklahoma, the area code again is nearing exhaustion, according to the North American Numbering Plan Administrator. The integrated telephone number plan serves 20 North American countries. [CNHI]

OU, OSU, TU coaches react to California bill allowing college athletes to profit from endorsements: On a day when the California governor signed a controversial bill allowing college athletes to profit from endorsements and hire agents, coaches in Oklahoma were unsure of what the long-term impact on their programs would be. [Tulsa World]

Trump allegations should be investigated, but Democrats not ‘fair,’ Lankford says: Allegations against President Donald Trump should be “looked at,” U.S. Sen. James Lankford said Monday, but he questioned whether House Democrats are the ones to do it. [Tulsa World] U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn said Monday she backs a House investigation into the whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump but it could have been done without an impeachment inquiry. [The Oklahoman]

Elected officials pitch in at Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma: U.S. Sen. James Lankford, 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern and about two dozen other elected officials sacked apples Monday afternoon to help the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma launch its October Feeding Oklahoma food drive. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“The governor’s very excited about what will be brought forward from this task force and ways that we can continue to move the needle. He thinks that the task force has done great work to date, and he also believes that that next step is having (them) meet publicly and letting the public attend and begin to provide their input as well to the final product.”

– Donelle Harder, senior adviser in the governor’s office. Governor Kevin Stitt’s criminal justice task force holds its first public meeting on Wednesday [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Decline in violent felonies among Oklahoma youth of all races since 1990.

[Source: Open Justice Oklahoma]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

America has a health-care crisis — in prisons: Prison is no place to get sick. The nation’s incarcerated population is aging rapidly, with nearly four times as many inmates 55 or over as there were at the start of this century. That’s led to increased rates of diabetes and heart disease, among many other problems. Younger offenders are hardly the picture of health, given their high rates of addiction. Altogether, prisoners make up 1 percent of the population, yet they account for 35 percent of the nation’s total cases of hepatitis C. [Governing]

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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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