In The Know: Election board, advocates reach National Voter Registration Act agreement

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.

Next week, In The Know will be suspended through Wednesday, August 5th, due to our Summer Policy Institute. In The Know will return on Thursday, August 6th.

Today In The News

State Election Board, advocacy groups reach agreement: Federal law requires that state agencies where people seek assistance additionally provide assistance in registering to vote. However, a group of Oklahoma-based organizations had raised concerns that state agencies weren’t complying with the law. The Election Board and advocacy groups have reached an agreement under which a range of state agencies will be required to ask clients if they want to register to vote, and to assist them with the registration process [Journal Record]. The Election Board is launching a website tracking the effort [Oklahoma State Elections Board]. Oklahoma has the country’s eighth-lowest voter registration rate [OK Policy].

Agencies providing care to Oklahomans with disabilities hit by reimbursement cut: Combined with a subsequent loss of federal matching funds, a 3.5 percent reimbursement cut to home- and community-based care developmental disability and aging services leaves equates to almost $9 million in cuts next year. Ed Lake, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, said in a letter that the cuts were necessary to balance his department’s budget, but care providers say it leaves already underfunded services further without needed resources [Tulsa World]. Appropriations for the state’s FY 2016 budget are 1.3 percent lower than appropriations for the prior year [OK Policy]. Oklahomans with disabilities wait nearly a decade on a waiting list to receive services [OK Policy].

Happy birthday, Medicare and Medicaid: The US’s two largest public health initiatives turned 50 this month. Over the last five decades, they’ve improved the health and financial security of nearly 1 in 3 Americans [OK Policy].

Why solar energy is growing slowly in Oklahoma: Although Oklahoma is a national leader in oil and wind energy production, it’s lagged behind in solar energy. Experts say it’s because the state has implemented policies that de-incentivize solar energy, and because Oklahoma’s electricity prices are already among the lowest in the country [StateImpact Oklahoma].

Lessons from the trailer: On the trailing end of the hoopla regarding Gov. Fallin’s daughter’s trailer parked on the grounds of the Governor’s mansion, Oklahoma Observer editor Arnold Hamilton suggests that Gov. Fallin could take the opportunity of having her grown children living with her to empathize with the plight of less well-to-do Oklahomans. Many other parents in this state have grown children in need of a hand up, but lack the resources to help them [Journal Record].

Tulsa oil company reports earnings down 53 percent: Helmerich & Payne, a Tulsa-based oil company, reported Thursday that profits for the third quarter of the fiscal year were down 53 percent compared to the third quarter of 2014 [Tulsa World].

American Indian Cultural Center and Museum completion at least 2 years away: Officials estimate that it will be at least two years before the half-finished museum is completed, and suggest that it will be at least one more additional year to install Smithsonian Institution-quality exhibits. Oklahoma City is also looking for sources to fill a $15 million budget hole in construction costs [KGOU].

EPA launches study Oklahoma wetlands: A joint initiative by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and the Environment are teaming up to study the state’s wetlands. The project is part of a national initiative to observe aquatic ecosystems [KWGS].

Quote of the Day

“We already don’t get enough from the government to provide these services, and then we get this rate cut. I think the government is saying ‘We don’t care about the people with disabilities in our state.’ ”

– Mary Ogle, president and CEO of A New Leaf, which provides 24-hour care and vocational services for clients with developmental disabilities. DHS instituted a provider reimbursement cut for those services in order to balance the agency’s budget and cope with reduced funding provided by the Legislature (Source)

Number of the Day


Typical property taxes for a median-value home in Oklahoma City, 42nd highest out of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. Tulsa ranked 41st, with $1,644 in property taxes for a median-value home.

Source: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Inside the Shadowy Business of Prison Phone Calls The prison phone business is pushing more and more costs onto the backs of the incarcerated and their families. With two companies controlling nearly 80 percent of the market and families desperate to talk to loved ones, the industry is able to charge exorbitant costs for calls and video chats, often while providing prisons with hefty commissions [International Business Times].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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