In The Know: Funding for community clinics; concern over opioid settlement; first Stitt appointment to Education Board…

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:

Jacobi Crowley talks about Health Care Rally Day: Jacobi Crowley with the Oklahoma Policy Institute talked with our Good Morning Texoma anchors about Health Care Rally Day Monday morning. There is an event happening on Thursday, April 18, at the Patterson Center in Lawton at 6:30pm. All are welcome to attend to learn about health care. [KSWO] Learn more about the Campaign to Expand Coverage and RSVP to the Rally to Expand Coverage at

Panelists address the way Oklahoma funds its court system: While exact figures vary from district to district, every district attorney’s office in the state receives its funding this way. Ladd explained how this came to be. [The Ardmoretite] This is the second of a two-part series about Together Oklahoma’s Criminal Justice forum. Click here to read the first part.

In The News

Oklahoma moves to cover funding for clinics as Federal Mental Health Act expires: State officials stepped in Monday to make up for now-expired federal funding for comprehensive mental health clinics spread across Oklahoma. The three Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics were funded through a two-year program seeking to expand access to mental health and addiction treatment. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Lawmakers ‘extremely concerned’ by Hunter’s opioid settlement: By designating the recipients of money from his opioid settlement with Purdue Pharma, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has frustrated members of the state Legislature, some of whom believe Hunter violated statute and circumvented constitutional responsibilities. [NonDoc]

Stitt makes first appointment to state Education Board: The state Board of Education is ripe for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s influence, with nearly all the members’ terms expiring April 2. On Monday, Stitt appointed Carlisha Williams Bradley to the seat vacated by Dan Keating, who died in November. Bradley is the executive director of ImpactTulsa, an organization that strives to improve students’ education by connecting public school districts with nonprofits, businesses and civic leaders in Tulsa. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt visits Owasso, talks education, criminal justice reform: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt visited Owasso on Friday to speak to local citizens at Owasso Chamber’s legislative luncheon. The American businessman and politician, who took office as the 28th governor of Oklahoma in January, talked about a new era in Oklahoma under his watch. [Owasso Reporter]

Governor’s staff to focus on Oklahoma’s biggest health challenges first: State officials are close to pinning down which big health issues will be targeted first by the Stitt administration, Jerome Loughridge, Oklahoma’s new secretary of health and mental health, said Monday. “We’re going to take on the most intractable problems,” Loughridge said.”Right now we are defining — we call them rocks — what are the big rocks that are going to constitute our first objectives.” [NewsOK ????]

Doctor shortage hurting small communities in Oklahoma: Right now, Poteau is short five doctors at the hospital. It’s not just happening in Poteau, but all around Oklahoma. In fact, almost all or parts of 76 of the 77 counties in Oklahoma don’t have enough primary care doctors, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health. [KTUL]

Bill would create incentive for first-time homebuyers in Oklahoma: People thinking of buying homes in Oklahoma may get an extra incentive if a bill that would allow for tax-free savings for first-time buyers continues to progress at the Capitol. Senate Bill 961, called the “Oklahoma Home Buyer Savings Account Act,” would allow people to put money into bank accounts set up especially to accumulate savings for things like down payments and closing costs on homes. [Journal Record ????]

Officials urge lawmakers to pass pension pay increase: Retired state firefighters and police officers pressed their case at the Capitol on Monday for an increase in pay for pensioners. The retirees called on members of the Senate Committee on Retirement and Insurance to pass House Bill 2304, which would pave the way for a vote by the full Senate. [Journal Record ????]

Education still top issue one year after teacher walkout: Kim Caywood, a high school teacher from Coweta, did not realize how privileged she was to have lights that worked in her classroom. Talking to other teachers at the Capitol during the April 2018 teacher walkout opened her eyes to the problems occurring in certain school districts — especially in smaller districts than Coweta, which is 25 miles southeast of Tulsa. [Gaylord News] Educators will again lobby state lawmakers this week for more education funding. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Organization urging lawmakers to approve bill to crack down on distracted drivers: An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed a bill in memory of a teacher who was killed by a distracted driver. Gail Lambert says her daughter, Bobbi White, was killed by a distracted driver in May of 2016 in a construction zone. [KFOR]

Marijuana use has potential to create housing problems for some patients: Smoking marijuana is legal for those with a license, but that doesn’t mean it’s not without its risks for patients who live in apartments or federally subsidized housing. In Oklahoma, marijuana smoke will not be treated differently than tobacco smoke, and secondhand smoke is known to cause its own health issues. [Tulsa World

Growers see cannabis as next cash crop now that its growth is legal in Oklahoma: The medical marijuana industry is growing in size and complexity in Oklahoma, from small craft growers producing specialty varieties to large-scale agriculture producers eyeing the possibility of cannabis becoming the state’s next cash crop. [Enid News & Eagle] As business booms in the medical marijuana industry, so too do the number of ways to consume the product. [NewsOK]

Wheat will not disappear anytime soon from Northwest Oklahoma’s crop arsenal: A year ago, just 2.2 million acres of Oklahoma’s wheat crop was harvested. That was the fewest acres of wheat harvested in the state since 1913 when 1.94 million acres of wheat were brought to elevators from state farms, according to U.S. Department Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. [Woodward News]

Tulsa World editorial: Time for the Oklahoma Legislature to approve the ERA: A groundswell among Oklahoma municipal leaders to approve the Equal Rights Amendment got a boost with the unanimous vote of the Tulsa City Council on Wednesday night. City councilors approved a resolution backing the 47-year-old proposed U.S. amendment and urged the state Legislature to take action in this session. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

The Invisibles: Making a home in the midst of blight: Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and even rural communities, struggle with areas plagued by economic blight. The telltale signs are abandoned homes, schools and other buildings. Oklahoma City counts 945 abandoned properties, which can lead to lower property values and a hollowing out of once-vibrant neighborhoods, including the near-northeast, predominantly African-American area that is rich with history. [Oklahoma Watch]

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Anoatubby encourages tribes to fully participate in 2020 Census: At a Washington, D.C., news conference Monday, Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby stressed the importance of tribes getting the government an accurate count of their citizens during next year’s Census. Anoatubby said tribes have a longstanding problem of being undercounted. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Elections Tuesday for city and school seats: Voters on Tuesday will choose new mayors in the suburban cities of Edmond, Piedmont and Choctaw, while voters in south Oklahoma City will decide a school board race. [NewsOK]

Shadid tells council, ‘Do better going forward’: Ed Shadid says city government is failing those who need it most. Shadid, in departing remarks before he retires next week from the city council, challenged his colleagues to rededicate themselves to public service, and not only for the greater good. [NewsOK]

Zoning code change would allow community-supported farms and markets in Tulsa neighborhoods: Coming changes to Tulsa’s zoning code will permit community-supported farms and markets in the city’s residential areas. Those will be a step up from currently allowed community gardens in a couple of ways. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Former U. of Oklahoma Dean sues President, Provost, and university for bias and free-speech violation: A former dean of international studies at the University of Oklahoma sued the university’s president, provost, and Board of Regents on Friday, saying they paid her less because she’s a woman and retaliated against her for speaking her mind. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

Judge strikes down state law on marketing of American Indian art: A federal judge in Oklahoma City has struck down an Oklahoma law that prohibits art from being labeled as American Indian if the artist is not a member of a federally recognized tribe. [NewsOK]

Quote of the Day

“In the 2010 Census, Native Americans were undercounted at about 4.9 percent less, a rate more than double the next-closest population group.”

-Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, speaking at a news conference on the importance of getting an accurate count during next year’s Census. Undercounting can mean lost funding for education, health care, housing and other services treaties require of the federal government. [Source: Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day


Share of Oklahoma state legislators who are non-Hispanic white, compared to 67% of Oklahoma’s population that is non-Hispanic white.

[Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Trump plans to end the AIDS epidemic. In places like Mississippi, obstacles are everywhere: But reaching those goals will take a huge amount of money — far more than the $291 million Mr. Trump requested in his 2020 budget proposal. Moreover, it will require courageous political leadership, not just from the White House, but from every statehouse and city hall in the nation. [New York 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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