In The Know: Drug companies appeal $572 million opioid trial verdict; Inmate dies at Oklahoma County jail

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.

Poverty Week at OK Policy

Money matters for child development. Healthier finances means a healthier future for children in Oklahoma: Policies that support low-income families improve the well-being of children. Policymakers have a number of options for improving economic prospects for Oklahoma’s working families and in turn improving health – including their mental health. Two practical changes are to restore the refundability of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and increase the minimum wage. [OK Policy]

New from OK Policy

Prosperity Policy: Thank you, Steven Dow: At a recent legislative study meeting, former state Rep. Mark McCullough declared, “the poor have no lobbyists.” He was trying to explain why the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, a major poverty-fighting measure, was cut several years ago. [David Blatt / Journal Record]

In The News

Drug companies appeal $572 million opioid trial verdict: Opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries filed an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court Wednesday claiming a $572 million nonjury verdict rendered against them was excessive and based on a misapplication of Oklahoma’s public nuisance law. [The Oklahoman]

Inmate dies at Oklahoma County jail; fifth death so far this year: An inmate at the Oklahoma County jail died early Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office. The cellmate of Dianne Jones, 57, called for help around 11:30 p.m. Monday night. A detention officer found Jones unresponsive. Staff performed CPR and other methods to resuscitate her until the paramedics arrived. [The Oklahoman]

Panel evaluates causes, solutions to Oklahoma’s teacher shortage: A legislative panel on Wednesday heard a variety of reasons for the teacher shortage and ways to correct it. The House Common Education Committee held an interim study on the issue. Oklahoma has been certifying a growing number of people on emergency status due to an inability to attract and retain traditionally certified teachers. [Tulsa World]

Five Oklahoma hospitals collapsed – what happened?: At some rural hospitals in Oklahoma, a pattern of controversial businesses practices lead to big profits for the management companies – but high risks for vulnerable hospitals. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Researchers launch study into dangers of vaping: As fears related to vaping rise across the country, a researcher at the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center is ready to launch a lengthy study of the respiratory effects of e-cigarette use on young people. [Journal Record ????]

Muskogee Phoenix Editorial: Condemnable false claims undermine criminal justice reforms: Recent claims made by some businesses and law enforcers about a purported increase in petty thefts undoubtedly were made to undermine criminal justice reforms. The problem is there is no credible evidence to support these false claims of an uptick in misdemeanor criminal activities. [Editorial Board / Muskogee Phoenix]

Joe Dorman: For The Children: We are less than a week from the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s annual Fall Forum. This conference gathers the best and brightest minds engaged in child wellbeing to discuss public policy and find solutions to problems facing the youth of our state. [Joe Dorman / CNHI]

Oklahoma now offers a safety app that lets students contact first-responders and school officials simultaneously during emergencies: When activated, the app sends critical data such as students’ locations and school floor plans to 911 and first-responders, allowing them to respond more quickly and more effectively to emergencies. [Tulsa World]

Reproductive rights group challenges abortion ‘reversal’ law: The Center for Reproductive Rights is asking an Oklahoma County District Court judge to block the implementation of a controversial abortion ‘reversal’ law that is slated to take effect this year. [The Oklahoman]

Judge: Lawsuit over forced labor at chicken plants can move forward: A lawsuit against a multibillion-dollar company brought by three men who were forced to work for free in chicken processing plants can move forward, a federal judge has ruled. [The Frontier]

EPA sets public meeting on Bird Creek draft permits with Osage oil producers: After more than three years, a resolution of issues between the Environmental Protection Agency and Osage County oil producers over excessive saline in North Bird Creek appears to be near. [Tulsa World]

Study: TPD administered force in 1.7% of arrests; race found not to be statistical predictor of use of force: In response to public scrutiny, Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Brooks has maintained that use-of-force incidents by Tulsa police officers are a rare occurrence. The results of a 30-month study examining the Tulsa Police Department’s use-of-force data, unveiled Wednesday at City Hall, support that assertion, showing that officers administered force in 1.7% percent of arrests. [Tulsa World]

Mayor’s alternative proposal for Office of the Independent Monitor excludes use-of-force reviews: Mayor G.T. Bynum’s alternative to creating an Office of the Independent Monitor does not include reviews of police use-of-force incidents but instead focuses on improving the city’s community policing practices and community engagement. [Tulsa World]

Monthslong examination of Equality Indicators wraps up with final special meeting: The City Council held its final Equality Indicators reports special meeting Wednesday night, ending a monthslong examination of disparities in policing outcomes outlined in the 2018 and 2019 documents. [Tulsa World]

Adult literacy program schedules free tutor training: Do you know more than 3,000 Pontotoc County adults read at a below basic level? This means they may have difficulty completing applications for employment or needed assistance, reading and paying bills, or understanding written instructions for health care and medications. [CNHI]

Oklahoma City Council bails out Boathouse District, preps MAPS 4 tax for voters: Further tax dollars for bailing out the Boathouse Foundation were approved, and several Business Improvement Districts were renewed. The final vote for a one-cent sales tax in the MAPS 4 package sends it on for a December 10 vote of the people. [Free Press OKC] Former Ward 2 Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid challenged MAPS 4. [The Oklahoman]

Judiciary Com approves moving forward on new “Homeless Court” concept: The Judiciary Committee of the City Council of Oklahoma City met Tuesday after the City Council meeting to discuss focused “homeless court” proceedings for people involved in the municipal legal system while experiencing homelessness. [Free Press OKC] The lesser-known, but no less important Urban Design Commission passed changes to the Downtown Development Framework (DDF) Wednesday to clarify some parts of the framework. [Free Press OKC]

Diversity and inclusion ‘No. 1 priority’ for preserving American democracy, OU president says: Reading, writing and arithmetic may be the three Rs of education, but learning to get along with each other is more important, University of Oklahoma Interim President Joe Harroz said Wednesday. [Tulsa World]

Cherokee Nation Businesses follow tribal government in raising minimum wage: Cherokee Nation Businesses announced that it will raise its workers’ minimum wage to $11 an hour, effective Oct. 1. The announcement comes after pay raises were approved last month for Cherokee Nation government workers. [KGOU]

Judicial nominee from Oklahoma City breezes through hearing: Attorney Jodi Dishman, nominated for a vacancy on the federal bench in Oklahoma City, breezed through a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma House members back whistleblower resolution: All five Oklahoma members of the U.S. House voted Wednesday for a resolution calling for a whistleblower complaint involving President Donald Trump to be turned over to lawmakers. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“[I]t is disappointing to see some naysayers spread misleading and false information in an attempt to undermine the success that has been realized in our attempt to reform the criminal justice system in this state. Oklahoma cannot afford to return to its punitive ways — we urge those who were wise enough to support reforms to ignore false cries in the night.”

– The Muskogee Phoenix Editorial Board, writing to debunk claims about recent justice reforms and citing OK Policy data showing no rise in petty theft following changes that reduced punishments for low-level property crimes [Muskogee Phoenix]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma households that reported falling behind on bill payments in the last 12 months

[Source: Prosperity Now Scorecard]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Programs targeted for cuts keep millions from poverty, new census data show: Economic hardship would be far more pervasive without key anti-poverty programs, Census data released today show, with programs like SNAP (food stamps), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) keeping millions of people above the poverty line in 2018. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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