In The Know: Fallin says Insure Oklahoma won’t be in special session

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 Gov. Fallin said she will not address the fate of Insure Oklahoma in a special legislative session, and state officials have submitted plans to shut it down. Spirit AeroSystems received $2.55 million in state Quality Jobs tax incentives in June, a month before laying off employees in Tulsa. The unemployment has risen in all but 2 of Oklahoma’s counties, which officials connected to public schools and universities transitioning to a summer schedule.

David Blatt’s Journal Record column explained how help is coming for tens of thousands of Oklahomans desperately in need of health insurance. Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt testified to a Congressional panel about his lawsuit attempting to block that help. A CDC report found that 65-year-olds in the South’s “Poverty Belt”—which includes Oklahoma—have a lower healthy life expectancy than people their age in the rest of the country.

The OK Policy Blog discussed why black Oklahomans are arrested for marijuana possession at a much higher rate that white Oklahomans. Superintendent Janet Barresi has loaned $100,000 to her reelection campaign. Democrats are still looking for a candidate to challenge Gov. Mary Fallin. Governor Fallin said that deals the state entered into to sell Oklahoma parkland at Lake Texoma toa private developer lack important safeguards to ensure development proceeds as promised.

Seven months after huge tax cuts went into effect in Kansas, a payoff for the economy is yet to be seen. The Number of the Day is how many children in Oklahoma are responsible for taking care of themselves after school. In today’s Policy Note, the Open Society Foundation explains why we should end the mandatory detention of immigrants without a hearing.

In The News

Fallin says Insure Oklahoma won’t be in special session

Gov. Mary Fallin will not include the fate of Insure Oklahoma as a topic for a special legislative session if she decides to call one, a spokesman said Tuesday. Meanwhile, the state has submitted to federal officials its plan to shutter the Insure Oklahoma program and is awaiting approval of the plan. Coverage under the popular state health insurance program will end Dec. 31. That would leave thousands of low-income Oklahomans without insurance unless state leaders come up with an acceptable alternative.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Spirit AeroSystems got $2.55 million in Oklahoma tax incentives just before layoffs announced

Spirit AeroSystems received $2.55 million in state Quality Jobs tax incentives in June, a month before laying off employees in Tulsa. Under the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program, the Wichita, Kan.-based aerospace components manufacturer received two incentive payments in June, one for $1.34 million and another for $1.21 million. The program is designed to encourage manufacturers to bring in jobs to the state, rewarding them with up to a 5 percent rebate on their payroll.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Unemployment rate rises in 75 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties

The unemployment has risen in 75 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, dropping only in two counties in southeastern Oklahoma where the jobless rate is highest, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. The increase, though, is not considered a cause for concern or a harbinger of future job losses, said John Carpenter, spokesman for the OESC. “It was the type of movement we see each year for the May to June period.” Carpenter said Wednesday. “That’s primarily because public schools and universities are transitioning to a summer schedule,” with fewer teachers, professors and support personnel such as maintenance workers, mechanics and cooks.”

Read more from the Associated Press.

Prosperity Policy: A good answer

The stories, letters and testimonials are always moving, frequently heart-wrenching. Charles Brown, a 19-year-old student at Tulsa Community College, was born with cystic fibrosis. As profiled in the Tulsa World, Charles is able to lead a productive life thanks to a battery of medications and treatments. His prescription drugs alone cost more than $2,300 a month. Until recently, his medical bills were covered by Medicaid, but his eligibility ended when he turned 19. His chances of getting private insurance that covers his pre-existing medical conditions are zero. “Without his pills, my son will die,” says his mother.

Read more from the Journal Record.

Map of the Week: Life expectancy lower in Oklahoma

The Huffington Post mapped data from a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that revealed 65-year-olds in the South’s “Poverty Belt”—which includes Oklahoma—have a lower healthy life expectancy than do folks their age in the rest of the country. “The region where more than 30 percent of people live in high-poverty areas—dubbed the “poverty belt” by The Atlantic‘s Richard Florida, falls right over the states with the lowest healthy life expectancies,” HuffPo explained.

Read more from This Land Press.

Racial disparities in the war on marijuana: intent versus impact

A recent ACLU report revealed some disturbing data showing large racial disparities in drug law enforcement. Although Black and White Americans use marijuana at nearly identical rates, Black Americans are disproportionately arrested for possessing it. In Oklahoma, Black residents are nearly three times more likely than White residents to be arrested for marijuana possession; in 2010, Black Oklahomans constituted 7.8 percent of the state population, but accounted for 20.8 percent of marijuana possession.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog.

Superintendent Barresi loans $100,000 to her reelection campaign

Campaign reports filed by other statewide contenders show State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi reported loaning her campaign $100,000, giving her a total of $101,100 raised during the quarter. Barresi, who gave her campaign $731,345 in 2010, reported having $141,746 on hand. Donna Anderson, of Kingston and a Democratic challenger to Barresi, reported raising $9,931 during the quarter, giving her $6,572 on hand.

Read more from NewsOK.

Democrats continue to seek challenger to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin

Failure for Oklahoma Democrats to field a gubernatorial candidate in the next several months would result in the Democratic Party no longer being recognized as a political party. Any Democratic challenger to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin will be nearly $1 million behind, according to a campaign report filed Wednesday, the deadline for the April 1 — June 30 reporting period. Fallin reported having $970,580 on hand as of June 30, according to her report.

Read more from NewsOK.

Oklahoma sale of parkland to private developer lacks safeguards

Gov. Mary Fallin believes that deals the state entered into to sell Oklahoma parkland at Lake Texoma to the private developer Pointe Vista Development are fundamentally flawed, and that state officials should not have signed the contracts as written, she said through a spokesman. The deals, including a contract between the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department and Pointe Vista that the state released to The Oklahoman late Friday, lack proper safeguards and recourse for the state to ensure the development proceeds as promised, Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said.

Read more from NewsOK.

The Kansas revenue riddle

Kansas reported its July revenue numbers today, and they don’t appear to be encouraging for supporters of the 2012 Brownback tax cuts. For the month — the first month of the state’s fiscal year — individual income tax receipts were $163.5 million, down more than 20 percent from the previous July. Overall Kansas revenues were $425.4 million, off $32.4 million from July 2012, a 7.1 percent drop.

Read more from the Kansas City Star.

Quote of the Day

If Mr. Pruitt’s lawsuit were to prevail, all he would achieve is making health care unaffordable to over 300,000 Oklahomans. … The reality of a legal victory is a terrible loss for the low-income people of Oklahoma, whose taxes pay the attorney general’s salary.

-Congresswoman Jackie Speier, on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s lawsuit attempting to block the federal government from offering tax credits to low-income Oklahomans to assist with the cost of insurance (Source:

Number of the Day


The number of K-12 children in Oklahoma that are responsible for taking care of themselves after school, 29% of the state’s kids.

Source:  After School Alliance

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Why we should repeal mandatory detention of immigrants

The U.S. immigration detention system has grown exponentially from about 70,000 people detained a year in 1996 to some 400,000 people in 2012. A primary reason for this expansion is a series of 1996 laws that expanded “mandatory detention.” These laws force authorities to detain immigrants without a hearing. That includes the sick, elderly, pregnant women, green card holders, asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants, and legal residents who’ve resided in the U.S. for years.

Read more from the Open Society Foundation.

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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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