In The Know: Ed Shadid will run for mayor of Oklahoma City

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today you should know that Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid announced that he will run for mayor in 2014. University of Oklahoma officials got approval to move forward with a flat-rate plan for undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees. Oklahoma Watch has an infographic tracking Oklahoma tuition costs and average student loan amounts since 2000.

The OK Policy Blog explains why the Affordable Care Act will help but not completely solve Oklahoma’s uninsured problem. The city is projected to have a $6.8 million budget shortfall in FY 2015, partly as a result of absorbing the full cost of new police officers. Wayne Greene discusses how a change to the Water Resources Board is shifting control over water projects away from Oklahoma City and Tulsa to rural areas of the state.

Former Gov. Brad Henry paid a surprise visit to man who he had freed from prison after nearly 25 years by commuting his life sentence. Responding to an OK Policy issue brief on the large gaps in health, education, and wealth between whites and people of color in Oklahoma, the Oklahoman editorial board writes that minorities have just made bad personal choices. The Number of the Day is how many children living in Oklahoma households were food insecure during the year. In today’s Policy Note, Wonkblog has a detailed analysis of the Obama administration’s new plan to combat climate change.

In The News

Ed Shadid will run for mayor of Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid announced Monday that he will run for mayor in 2014, setting up a potential battle with three-term incumbent Mayor Mick Cornett. Cornett, elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2006 and 2010, has said he will decide whether to seek a fourth term later this summer. He’s proved to be a popular candidate, winning with 87 percent of the vote in 2006 and 58 percent in 2010. Shadid said in a video that he planned a “campaign emphasizing honesty, transparency, unprecedented public participation and neighborhood interests over special interests.”

Read more from NewsOK.

University of Oklahoma’s flat-rate tuition and fee proposal receives board approval

University of Oklahoma officials got approval Monday to move forward with a flat-rate plan for undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees. Under the plan, any full-time undergraduate student who takes between 12 and 21 credits per semester will pay a flat rate for tuition and fees that is based on the cost for 15 hours per semester during the 2012-13 academic year. The OU Board of Regents approved the plan at a meeting Monday at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore. The plan will go before the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education on Wednesday.

Read more from NewsOK.

Interactive: Tracing tuition costs and student loans, by college

It’s well known that college tuition and student debt rose steeply in Oklahoma over the past decade. But less familiar is how that trend has played out at individual colleges and types of schools. The interactive graphic above adds clarity to that picture. In the chart, each circle represents a school, is sized by enrollment and is colored by type of college – public, nonprofit or for-profit. Among the trends evident in the graphic: * Tuition and fees at the largest universities, the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, increased at a faster pace than at most other colleges. The main reason, officials have said, is the decline in state funding for higher education.

Read more from Oklahoma Watch.

The Affordable Care Act will help but not completely solve Oklahoma’s uninsured problem

Currently, some 55 million Americans are without health insurance. That includes about 650,000 Oklahomans, or one in six state residents.. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to reduce the number of uninsured by expanding access to quality, affordable coverage. With the major expansion provisions set to take effect at the beginning of 2014, there is likely to be substantial progress made towards that goal. However, it is also clear that a significant number of people will remain without coverage, especially in states like Oklahoma that have so far opted not to accept federal dollars for extending Medicaid coverage to low-income adults.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog.

$6.8 million budget shortfall predicted for Tulsa in fiscal year 2015

The city will be short $6.8 million in fiscal year 2015 partly as a result of absorbing the full cost of police officers it will hire throughout the coming fiscal year, the Finance Department projects. The projection also takes into account $2.3 million in other unfunded ongoing expenses, $1.4 million in expiring public safety grants and burgeoning health insurance costs. Sixty-one new police positions, including 45 sworn officers, are funded with $1.9 million under a City Council amendment to Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins Monday. That is enough to fill the new positions for a portion of the fiscal year, but the city will have to fund their salaries for the full year in coming budgets, City Manager Jim Twombly said.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Wayne Greene: Rural areas 1, cities 0 in water wars

On the final day of the legislative session, a bill passed that will fundamentally shift control over one of the state’s most precious and limited resources – water. Senate Bill 965 shifts power on the Oklahoma Water Resource Board away from Oklahoma City and Tulsa and to the rural parts of the state. Previously, membership on the board – which controls state funding for water projects, appropriates water use, monitors water standards and has a half-dozen other key regulatory roles – had a bias toward urban areas. The newly constituted board, which will phase in through 2020, will break any connection to population representation.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Convicted killer meets Okla. gov. who freed him

Freed from prison after nearly 25 years, convicted killer Aaron Cosar always wanted to shake the hand of the man who granted him his freedom. On Monday, Cosar got his opportunity. Former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, who commuted Cosar’s life sentence and signed his parole, surprised the ex-convict by dropping by the classroom where Cosar now teaches life skills to other former inmates. “This is a shock. You’re going to make me start crying,” Cosar told Henry as the ex-governor strolled into Cosar’s small teaching space at The Education and Employment Ministry. “I really just want to thank you.”

Read more from the Associated Press.

NewsOK: Bigotry not to blame for Oklahoma’s shortcomings

An issue brief by the Oklahoma Policy Institute declares Oklahomans have “inherited a legacy of discrimination that historically impeded economic opportunity for people of color and created a wealth deficit that persists today.” The report notes blacks have lower income and savings than white Oklahomans. The group cites data showing blacks have higher rates for smoking, obesity, cancer, heart-disease mortality, incarceration and unemployment than whites, while having lower levels of educational achievement. This isn’t proof of discrimination. Instead, the data largely demonstrates the impact of personal choices.

Read more from NewsOK.

See also: Closing the Opportunity Gap: Building Equity in Oklahoma from Oklahoma Policy Institute

Quote of the Day

He made a mistake way back when, and he paid the price and learned from that mistake, and now he’s helping other people.

-Former Gov. Brad Henry, who commuted Aaron Cosar’s life sentence after he had spent 25 years imprisoned for a murder committed when he was 19. Cosar was released two years ago and now teaches life skills to other former inmates at The Education and Employment Ministry (Source:

Number of the Day


The number of children living in Oklahoma households that were food insecure during the year, a quarter of the state’s kids.

Source: Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy via KIDS COUNT 2013

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Obama tries the kitchen sink approach to global warming

Obama is taking another crack at the climate issue, starting with a big speech at Georgetown on Tuesday. In a 21-page document, the White House laid out a barrage of piecemeal energy and climate policies that it will pursue on its own in the years ahead, like new limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, or speeding up the development of wind and solar power on public lands. There’s no longer a grand strategy to solve climate change once and for all. And it’s unlikely that Obama will attain any of the sweeping goals he laid out in 2008 — that would require cooperation from Congress. Instead, the White House will try to use whatever executive power it has to chip away at the problem, little by little, in the years ahead.

Read more from the Washington Post.

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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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