In The Know: Dark money spending record; renewed push for lobbying ban; Walmart officials defend SQ 793…

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

Dark-money’ spending hits record in Oklahoma, with surge to come: Political spending by secretive groups that are allowed to hide their donors have already spent what is likely a record amount this year to influence Oklahoma political races. An Oklahoma Watch review of campaign finance records found so-called “dark money” groups had spent nearly $2.7 million on Oklahoma’s legislative, statewide and congressional races by the end of August. [Oklahoma Watch] Oklahoma’s biggest dark-money players [Oklahoma Watch]

Ethics Commission continues to push for two-year ban on lobbying by former lawmakers: The Oklahoma Ethics Commission on Friday voted unanimously to resubmit a rule to lawmakers that would ban them from lobbying for two years once they leave office. The ban also would cover chief administrative officers for state agencies and other elected state officials. Last year, lawmakers rejected the rule. [Tulsa World]

Walmart officials respond to criticism of State Question 793, which allows eye exams in big box stores: Walmart officials on Thursday disputed claims that passage of a state question could result in inferior eye care in their stores. At issue is State Question 793. If approved by voters, it would let big-box stores such as Walmart offer eye care. It would also amend the constitution. [Tulsa World] State Question 793 fact sheet [OK Policy]

After half-century of ‘rapidly’ rising Tulsa County incarceration rate, early indicators show turning tide: A report on Tulsa County’s criminal justice system that found an “urgent” need to address numerous shortcomings is precipitating a wave of reform — but wholesale changes won’t happen overnight. In one year, the Tulsa County jail’s average daily population is down 18 percent — or about 300 inmates a day, according to data compiled by Vera Institute of Justice, a New York-based nonprofit research organization. [Tulsa World]

DHS Developmental Disabilities Services to hold listening sessions for families on how to improve services: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services Developmental Disabilities Services is wanting to hear from families across the state. Officials say they will hold a series of listening sessions around the state in September and October on how DDS can improve services for Oklahomans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. [KFOR]

State Health Board green-lights bonds for health lab: A plan to issue bonds to pay for a new state public health lab moved a step forward Friday. The Oklahoma State Board of Health approved a resolution to facilitate raising funds for the project. The new lab would replace Oklahoma’s current facility, which is in danger of losing its accreditation from the College of American Pathologists. Losing accreditation would force it to close immediately. [NewsOK]

Past oil and gas production bans led to current limits set by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission: A proration order recently approved by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission that limits the amount of production from natural gas wells is a reminder of the state’s past. The order, effective from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2019 and adopted by the commission at its Aug. 14 meeting, sets a maximum annual flow allowed from gas wells drilled and produced in Oklahoma. [NewsOK]

Cities become owners of nursing homes, expecting windfall from feds: A handful of small Oklahoma cities have become owners of dozens of Oklahoma nursing homes across the state in the past 15 months, hoping to tap into a federal program that will bring them millions of dollars. [Oklahoma Watch] The list of city-owned nursing homes [Oklahoma Watch]

GOP teachers launch statehouse bids to demand more school funding: This year’s unrest among red-state teachers unhappy with cuts to school funding and low pay has produced a mini-wave of GOP legislative candidates on the November ballot who insist they’re ready to stand up to their fellow Republicans on education issues. About 40 Republicans have joined the mostly Democratic “educator spring” — the hundreds of current and retired teachers, professors and school administrators running for office. [Politico]

Healthy Schools Oklahoma seeks to improve results in classroom: Stanley Hupfeld Academy students are constantly in motion. They even move when they review spelling words and math problems. And that’s a good thing as far as Principal Ruthie Rayner is concerned. Rayner credits the Action Based Learning Lab provided by Healthy School Oklahoma for a drop in discipline referrals at the Oklahoma City charter school. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma educator earns scholarship with comic book proposal: A love of kids and comic books has landed one new educator a scholarship. University of Central Oklahoma alumna Katlyn Beddo was named a 2018 DaVinci Scholar by The DaVinci Institute, a creativity think tank based in Oklahoma City that backs current and future teachers, as well as education professionals. [NewsOK]

Tulsa City Council Chairman David Patrick dies at 67: Tulsa City Council Chairman David Patrick died Friday, according to a statement issued by the city of Tulsa. He was 67. The cause of death has yet to be determined. Mayor G.T. Bynum described Patrick as a good man and loyal friend who was admired at every level of city government. Patrick was the longest-serving member of the current council. [Tulsa World]

Six to be inducted into Oklahoma African-American Hall of Fame: Six individuals will be inducted into the Oklahoma African-American Hall of Fame during a luncheon and induction ceremony set for noon Oct. 13 at the Jim Thorpe Event Center, 4040 N Lincoln Blvd. The 11th annual event will be hosted by the Ntu Art Association of Oklahoma. The 2018 inductees Chalon Edwards Anderson, Ph.D.; the Rev. Oberia D. “Wayne” Dempsey Jr. (posthumous); Carla Hinton; Norma Lynette Noble; Alice LaDell Strong Simmons; and Horace Stevenson. [NewsOK]

North Tulsa life in 1968 was ‘pivotal time in all of our lives’: When Vivian Clark-Adams arrived at McLain High School in the mid-1960s, she was one of just 12 black children in her class of 455 students. “Our family moved into what was primarily a white neighborhood in north Tulsa,” Clark-Adams said. “The neighborhood was transitioning to integration. So was the school. “It wasn’t always pleasant, but it was a very exciting time, too. There was so much happening, so much change in our nation and in Tulsa when I became a senior in 1968.” [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I remember being in the second grade, and I was scared to go to school. I have a memory of my brother, who was in kindergarten at the time, and we were holding hands being very scared. Kids threw rocks at us. Parents chanted, ‘Two-four-six-eight, we don’t want to integrate.’”

-Gail Anderson, who attended Tulsa Public Schools when the district was forced to integrate by the U.S. attorney general in 1968, fourteen years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

$888 million

Value of food items purchased through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in Oklahoma at retail grocery outlets, farmers markets and direct-to-market farmers in FY 2017.

[Oklahoma Department of Human Services]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

On the sidelines of democracy: Exploring why so many Americans don’t vote: Lester, like many nonvoters, never went to college. She stopped going to school in eighth grade. Research has shown the biggest and most persistent difference between who votes and who doesn’t is education and economics. Class is a more accurate predictor of voting behavior than race, ethnicity, gender or any other demographic factor, according to Jan Leighley. Leighley writes in her book Who Votes Now? that nearly 80 percent of high-income earners vote, compared to barely 50 percent of low-income Americans. [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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