In The Know: EITC restoration would benefit veterans, Medicaid block grant ‘ill-advised’ and more

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.

New from OK Policy

Honor those who served by helping them get ahead: Yesterday we observed Veterans Day and honored the men and women who have served to preserve our freedom. Another way to honor our veterans this year is to help ensure that they and their families are financially secure. Oklahoma is home to more than 260,000 veterans, and good policy choices like restoring the Oklahoma Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would help them and their communities be economically stable. [OK Policy]

(Capitol Update) Medicaid block grant proposal would be ill-advised: In an interview last week, Gov. Kevin Stitt said his forthcoming plan to defeat the Medicaid expansion initiative petition is adoption of a Medicaid “block grant” program. He gave no details. A block grant is a grant program wherein the federal government gives to a state a certain amount of money for a designated purpose. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

In The News

‘We don’t have a lot of time’: Oklahoma County, jail trust officials begin speeding up transition process: To fully transition management of the Oklahoma County jail by Jan. 1, officials are beginning to address a long list of ‘to-dos’ over the next several weeks. Since August, when the Oklahoma County Jail Trust voted to transition management of the jail from the sheriff’s office to an outside administrator, the main focus has been finding who that administrator will be. [The Oklahoman]

Commerce Secretary outlines Top Ten vision: Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean Kouplen lead the November Woodward Chamber of Commerce luncheon Monday afternoon, giving an update on how he is working with Gov. Kevin Stitt and various agencies to make Oklahoma a Top Ten State. [CNHI]

After election, Stitt continues to rake in campaign donations: Gov. Kevin Stitt has continued to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions following his election just over a year ago. Campaign finance reports show the mortgage company founder has raised almost $820,000, or an average of nearly $2,500 per day, since winning the governor’s race last November. [Oklahoma Watch]

New law allows use of school bus cameras to ticket reckless drivers: A bill allowing law enforcement to use cameras on school buses to track down drivers who illegally pass stopped buses went into effect Friday, Nov. 1. House Bill 1926, by Rep. Dell Kerbs (R-Shawnee) and Sen. Ron Sharp (R-Shawnee) requires a minimum ticket of $100 for drivers who break this law. [CNHI]

Oklahoma City school district sued over increase in charter fees: A charter school organization is challenging an Oklahoma City Public Schools plan to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars more in charter fees. Families for Excellence in Education Inc. is seeking to block the school district’s plan to raise administrative fees on charter schools from 3 percent to 5 percent of their annual state allocation. [The Oklahoman]

Removing barriers: New legislation aims to increase volunteers amid declining numbers at volunteer fire departments: In Oklahoma alone, 85 percent of firefighters are volunteers. While these individuals spend countless hours training and responding to calls exactly as a paid department would, they’re often putting their lives in danger with very little return other than the satisfaction of public service — making recruiting efforts difficult. [Ardmoreite]

Oklahoma may need to foot the bill for work on McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System: Tulsa Port of Catoosa Director Emeritus Bob Portiss said a $100 million repair backlog for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has grown to $200 million over the years, and every issue is considered “fix or fail.” Portiss said Oklahoma should consider a public-private partnership with other states and businesses that rely on the shipping route. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Corporation Commission strengthens injection restrictions as purge continues: Regulators have further ratcheted down the amount of saltwater they are allowing to be injected underground in northwestern and western Oklahoma as they continue to investigate what might be causing a purge of saltwater onto the earth’s surface at the Blaine-Kingfisher county line. [The Oklahoman]

Voters to decide Improve Our Tulsa election today: Tulsans have a choice Tuesday — continue to invest in the city, or let it slide back to those not-so-distant days when the streets were in even worse condition than they are today. Such was the pitch from city leaders in advance of Tuesday’s vote on the $639 million Improve Our Tulsa renewal package. The Improve Our Tulsa renewal includes $427 million for streets and transportation projects, $193 million for capital projects and $19 million for the city’s Rainy Day Fund. [Tulsa World]

Norman’s public transit system has $2.2 million budget hole. Voters can decide to fill it with a sales tax Tuesday. Norman voters today are considering a citywide sales tax that would be used solely for public transit purposes and would not raise current sales tax levels, which sit at 8.75%, according to information from the city. If approved, the sales tax would go into effect April 1, 2020, which is when Cleveland County’s current sales tax expires. This financial crunch comes after the University of Oklahoma, which collected student fees to offset costs, decided to stop managing the city’s bus routes last year. [The Oklahoman]

After 100 years, Oklahoma Hospital Association focused on future: This week, the Oklahoma Hospital Association will gather for its 100th annual convention Nov. 13-15 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. On May 21, 1919, around 30 representatives from hospitals across Oklahoma met at the Severs Hotel in Muskogee to form the Oklahoma State Hospital Association. [NonDoc]

All-black town of Boley the latest example of forgotten Oklahoma history to become pop-culture entertainment: Hollywood continues to discover largely forgotten events in Oklahoma history and decide that they should be turned into pop-culture stories for the public to see. The latest is “Boley,” a planned series about the famed “all-black town” of Oklahoma’s Okfuskee County that is supposed to become “television’s first premium black Western,” according to reports. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“There may indeed be an ‘Oklahoma plan’ for Medicaid worth considering, but hopefully the governor won’t propose an ill-advised block grant scheme that will fail legal muster and, without Congressional approval, will almost surely never be implemented.”

-Former Oklahoma House Speaker Steve Lewis, writing about a consideration to use a Medicaid block grant program. [OK Policy]

Number of the Day


Share of Oklahomans who are American Indian or Alaskan Native — the 3rd highest behind Alaska (15.4 percent) and New Mexico (10.9 percent) #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The 2020 census is coming. Will Native Americans be counted? In the 2010 count, nearly 1 in 7 Native Americans living on a reservation was missed, according to an audit by the U.S. Census Bureau. That adds up to 82,000 people overlooked and uncounted — equal to skipping the entire city of Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital. [LA Times]

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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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