In The Know: FCC ruling reduces charges for Oklahoma inmate phone calls

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.

Today In The News

FCC ruling reduces charges for Oklahoma inmate phone calls: Family members and loved ones of inmates doing time in Oklahoma’s prisons and jails will pay significantly less to stay in touch over the phone. The changes announced Oct. 22 by the Federal Communications Commission reveal that a 15-minute phone call between an Oklahoma inmate and another person will cost $1.65, which is 40 percent lower than the $3 rate that was in place prior to Oct. 22 [NewsOK].

Oklahoma City streetcar contract falls into jeopardy: Inekon Group a.s., the European manufacturer chosen to build the streetcars, missed the contract’s first deadline, to provide documentation of its credit worthiness and insurance. An attorney for Oklahoma City said the $23 million contract is now null and void. The blown deadline likely means further delays for the $128 million streetcar line, already running about a year behind schedule [NewsOK].

Oklahoma Supreme Court issues stay in stadium construction halt: The order issued by the high court on Friday means construction work can continue until an appeal process is completed in the case, which was filed by a Kansas steel manufacturer against OU, construction project manager Flintco Inc. and W&W Steel. HME is suing the OU Board of Regents, Flintco and W&W Steel because the company claims it was the lowest responsible bidder for the project, but the contract was wrongfully awarded to W&W Steel, the second lowest bidder [NewsOK].

Affordable Care Act open enrollment – What you need to know: Ah, fall: crunchy leaves on sidewalks, a hint of frost in the air, pumpkin spice everything… In other words, it’s time for open enrollment, the span between Nov. 1, 2015, and Jan. 31, 2016, when people can enroll in or change their private health insurance plans. This is a particularly good time for people who are currently uninsured but who are eligible for health insurance to get covered [OK Policy].

Oklahoma Senate panel eyes budget-only legislative sessions: The Oklahoma Legislature would join neighboring Arkansas and six other states that spend every other year focused exclusively on discussing and writing a budget under a proposal a Senate panel considered Monday. The issue would go before voters if approved. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, who sponsored a resolution that passed the Senate last year, said he’d like to see more members engaged in budget discussions and not distracted by the sometimes thousands of policy bills introduced each year [The Ada News].

Environmental groups threaten energy companies with lawsuit over earthquakes: Public Justice and the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club argue some injection wells pumping oil and gas waste fluid underground are illegal under the U.S. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act because they may endanger the public and the environment. In a letter dated Oct. 29, lawyers representing the environmental groups notified Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, New Dominion and Sandridge Energy of their intent to file a lawsuit after 90 days — a legal requirement and the first step in filing a lawsuit under RCRA [State Impact Oklahoma].

Oklahoma’s earthquake research office could see budget cuts: Gov. Mary Fallin’s Oct. 26 executive order asked agencies to divide budget items into those they consider essential and nonessential to the mission of each agency. She asked officials to come up with a plan to cut 10 percent of non-critical expenses. She also placed a moratorium on out-of-state travel that isn’t required to maintain professional accreditation. The Oklahoma Geological Survey will be subject to the same cuts as other agencies, said press secretary Michael McNutt [Journal Record].

Quote of the Day

“Seven-hundred thousand inmates are released every year and too many of them return to their communities as strangers, are less likely to successfully re-assimilate and more likely to continue to the cycle back to prison because studies estimate that only 38 percent of them are able to maintain at least regular monthly contact.”

-FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn, speaking about the agency’s ruling that prisons and jails must reduce charges for inmate phone calls. The new rule means a 15-minute phone call between an Oklahoma inmate and another person will drop from $3 to $1.65 (Source).

Number of the Day


Pounds of honey collected in Oklahoma in 2012.

Source: USDA Census of Agriculture

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Dispelling the tax cut myth: Do cuts to income taxes really spur economic growth? A recent paper from the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution notes that ever since the idea of what is now called supply-side economics took off, “conservative politicians have been unable to resist the siren song of tax cuts for high-income households.” They highlight tax cuts across more than a dozen states over the past 30 years, and found that none resulted in higher than average economic output [Governing].

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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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