In The Know: Funding refuted for Governor’s Medicaid proposal, bill could increase punishment for property crimes, 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.

In The News

Stitt’s Medicaid plan funding statements refuted: Data and statements provided by hospital associations in both Oklahoma and Kansas, and Kansas statutes, contradict statements Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has used to support funding for his SoonerCare 2.0 health care plan. At question is the state’s Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program (SHOPP) fee — a fee hospitals that accept Medicaid pay to the state to administer the program. Stitt’s plan would increase the SHOPP fee for participating hospitals from 2.3% to 4% of all patient revenue. [Enid News & Eagle]

Mike Brose: SoonerCare 2.0’s hospital fees hurt mental health: Oklahomans want federal health care dollars to support the health and wellness of Oklahomans, but not at the expense of rural hospitals and mental health treatment. That’s exactly what a new proposal in the Legislature would do. Legislators are expected to vote in the coming days on increasing a hospital fee to fund SoonerCare 2.0, which would partially expand Medicaid but draw down fewer federal dollars and put a larger burden on hospitals. This hurts mental health. [Mike Brose / The Oklahoman]

Bill could lead to harsher sentences for crimes Oklahoma voters reduced to misdemeanors: A state Senate committee has approved a bill that could change sentences for some minor property crimes. Senate Bill 1587 changes from 90 days to one year the time period during which the total cost of three or more offenses can be added up to pass the felony threshold of $1,000. [Public Radio Tulsa] Advocates push for criminal justice reform bills before time runs out. [KOCO]

Lawmakers push back against effort to reduce qualifications for agency heads: Gov. Kevin Stitt is seeking to change state law that spells out the qualifications required to lead the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Commissioners of the Land Office. Legislation to change the qualifications for the health care positions was met with some bipartisan opposition in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. [The Oklahoman]

Gov. Stitt signs Oklahoma school voucher transparency bill into law: Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed the first bill of this year’s legislative session into law. House Bill 1230’s supporters said the bill increases transparency for the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program. Established in 2010 and named for former Gov. Brad Henry’s daughter, the program created scholarships to send students with disabilities to private schools better suited to serve their needs. [Tulsa World]

Bill lengthening emergency teacher certifications passes committee: A bill that would allow emergency-certified educators to teach longer without full certification has passed the state Senate Education Committee. Senate Bill 1115 would bring emergency-certified teachers back into the classroom beyond the current two-year limit. [The Oklahoman]

House committee advances bills to reform virtual charter schools, give state Board of Education subpoena power: Two pieces of legislation that include measures advocated for by elected officials and lawmakers amid the Epic Charter Schools investigation advanced in the House on Tuesday. House Bills 2904 and 2905, both authored by Tulsa Republican Sheila Dills, passed in the House Common Education Committee. [Tulsa World]

School law officer training bill advances: House Bill 3640, authored by state Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City, would direct CLEET to offer training that provides instruction for law enforcement on how to alert a school district or charter school about the presence of a minor child or a child who has reached 18 years of age and continues to be enrolled in high school if that child has been identified at the scene of a traumatic event or an event that involved a response from an emergency 911 service. [Journal Record ????]

AP class requirements on the table: State Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, said House Bill 3400 would require all public high schools to offer at least four Advanced Placement courses to students beginning in the 2024-25 school year. [CNHI / Norman Transcript]

Bill to prevent ‘red flag’ gun policies advances: On a party-line vote, the state Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to prevent Oklahoma cities and towns from enacting policies that would allow a court or other entity to restrict gun access to people deemed to be an imminent danger. [The Oklahoman]

Location, location, location: Bill regulating marijuana retailers moves to full House: House Bill 2779 authored by state Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, would alter the state’s current law prohibiting new medical marijuana dispensaries from being licensed to operate within 1,000 feet of a school, amending the distance to 300 feet. [Journal Record ????]

Lawmakers advance measure to end smoking in Oklahoma bars: Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, authored the Oklahoma Workplace Clean Air Act, which attempts to limit the amount of secondhand smoke employees and the public are exposed to. [The Oklahoman]

Separation of church and state is impossible, ‘In God We Trust’ proponent tells Oklahoma lawmakers: Separation of church and state does not and cannot exist in the United States, the lawmaker carrying a bill that would require that “In God We Trust” be “prominently” displayed in all state-owned buildings told an Oklahoma House of Representatives committee on Tuesday. [Tulsa World]

Senator Ikley-Freeman authors bill to help honeybee population: The Senate Finance Committee has passed Senate Bill 1388, which would incentivize urban gardeners across the state to raise honeybees by giving tax exempt status to any bee product sold. The measure is authored by Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa. [Sandite Pride News]

Groups fighting hunger in Oklahoma meet with lawmakers on anti-hunger day: Groups dedicated to putting an end to hunger problems in Oklahoma gathered in the state capitol on Tuesday to meet with legislators and citizens alike. Hunger Free Oklahoma Executive Director Chris Bernard said their goal on Anti-Hunger day was to call attention to the problem and gather volunteers from the community. [Public Radio Tulsa]

‘What a win’: Chicken farm permit revoked; impact of Oklahoma Water Resources Board case yet to be determined: District Judge Barry Denny’s ruling against the Oklahoma Water Resources Board’s issuance of successive temporary permits that allowed construction of a chicken farm to raise up to 300,000 birds at a time for nearly a year is under discussion between attorneys on all sides. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Gas and Electric partners with Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations to generate additional solar power: On Tuesday, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. and the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations announced they reached deals to bring an additional 10 megawatts of utility-scale solar that will benefit both the tribes and the utility’s 858,000 customers to the southern part of the state. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsans could be asked to vote on whether to establish police oversight program: Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper said Tuesday that she will offer a charter change amendment that would establish an Office of the Independent Monitor similar to the one proposed by Mayor G.T. Bynum but with more authority. [Tulsa World]

Northeast Oklahoma City residents concerned about food desert: It has been seven months since the last grocery store closed on Oklahoma City’s northeast side. Once the grocery store closed, residents were left in a food desert as they struggled to find fresh produce to feed their families. [KFOR]

Quote of the Day

“Health care at the expense of hospitals and mental health treatment is no solution. Legislators should vote no on changes to (the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program) , and Gov. Kevin Stitt should let the voters decide on State Question 802, which would expand Medicaid and bring nearly $1 billion in federal funding to Oklahoma each year to support expanded service options.” 

-Mike Brose, CEO, Mental Health Association Oklahoma  [Mike Brose / The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


The percentage decrease in violent crime in Oklahoma between 2010 and 2018.

[Source: Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Digital jail: How electronic monitoring drives defendants into debt: Ankle bracelets are promoted as a humane alternative to jail. But private companies charge defendants hundreds of dollars a month to wear the surveillance devices. If people can’t pay, they may end up behind bars. [ProPublica]

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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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