In The Know: Gov. Stitt issues first executive orders; Oklahoma budget picture brighter; Republican leader open to Medicaid expansion…

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

2019 Legislative Policy Priorities: Solutions for Oklahoma’s toughest challenges: As Oklahomans, we hold to the Oklahoma Standard. When disaster strikes, we come together to make sure our neighbors are safe and to rebuild even stronger than before. We need to bring that spirit of resilience and looking out for each other to take on another kind of disaster. Poverty and the high barriers to opportunity in Oklahoma have already done more damage than the worst tornado or ice storm. [OK Policy]

In The News

Reform: Gov. Stitt issues his first four executive orders: After 10 days on the job, Gov. Kevin Stitt has issued his first executive orders, which will sell the governor’s airplane, end a certain state hiring freeze, force transparency about state agencies hiring lobbyists and restructure his cabinet. The changes to the governor’s cabinet — a set of designated secretaries who oversee sections of state government — involve four areas. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma budget picture brighter, but still “a long way to go”: The numbers look good as Oklahoma lawmakers get to work on the 2020 budget, but the head of a local think tank said Thursday lawmakers need to start thinking far ahead. Oklahoma’s current $7.6 billion budget is the best it’s been in years. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Key Republican leader in Oklahoma Senate willing to discuss Medicaid expansion: Oklahoma Democrats want the state to expand Medicaid, and they may have a shot this session. At a budget summit Thursday in Oklahoma City, State Sen. Roger Thompson was asked why Oklahoma hasn’t expanded Medicaid, which would bring in $900 million in federal funding. Thompson chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Groups on the right, left oppose proposed grassroots lobbying rules: An unlikely alliance of groups across the political spectrum is raising constitutional concerns over an Oklahoma Ethics Commission proposal to require disclosure of who is behind organized legislative lobbying campaigns. ACLU Oklahoma joined the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association to oppose the rule. Planned Parenthood Great Plains previously indicated its opposition to the rule as well. [Oklahoma Watch]

Solar power reimbursement bill filed by freshman State Senator: Freshman state Senator Mary B. Boren of Norman filed a bill to be considered that would affect producers of solar energy power. Her Senate Bill 529 would apply where solar power is produced in excess of on-site requirements. It would compensate a producer when the retail purchase meter runs in reverse. [OK Energy Today]

Senator’s resolution asks for statewide vote to add corporation commissioners: An Oklahoma senator who chairs the body’s energy committee has introduced a resolution that proposes a statewide election to ask voters to expand the number of commissioners who oversee the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s activities. [NewsOK]

Bills aim to add training on consent to patchwork of sex education in Oklahoma schools: About half of the states mandate sex education in schools, with the option for parents or guardians to opt their kids out. But in Oklahoma, the decision to teach sex education is left up to local school boards. When it is taught, sex ed doesn’t have to be medically accurate and schools are required to stress abstinence. The Oklahoma State Department of Education does not track how many districts choose to teach sex education. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Non-profit creates community bail program to help Oklahoma County inmates: A metro nonprofit organization is bailing people out of jail who cannot afford it. The program started as a way to reduce and reform the Oklahoma County jail population. An attorney for TEEM said on average an Oklahoma County jail inmate will spend about 24 days behind bars and have a bond of $4,000. For many, that is a price to high for freedom. [News9]

Longtime Oklahoma City police chief to retire: Oklahoma City police Chief Bill Citty is retiring after 15 years as the city’s top law enforcement officer, ending a tenure notable for his leadership on police-community relations but marked by disagreements with the police officers union. [NewsOK] We previously showed how reforms enacted under Chief Citty have simultaneously reduced arrests and crime rates.

Record percentage earns Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship: A record 73.6 percent of 2018 high school graduates who signed up for the Oklahoma’s Promise college access program completed the requirements to receive the scholarship. “We’re extremely pleased to see it and hope it continues. We’re getting close to three out of every four students that we enroll in the program follow through with that commitment,” Bryce Fair said Thursday in a report to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. [NewsOK ????]

Some who missed insurance enrollment deadline have another chance: People who tried to buy health insurance through the federal exchange and ran into roadblocks might still be able to get coverage this year, but they’ll need to act quickly. Andrea Chica-Rodriguez, a navigator with the Latino Community Development Agency, said some people who tried to enroll ahead of the Dec. 15 deadline couldn’t get through the computer system, which uses people’s credit reports to verify their identities. [NewsOK]

Wayne Greene: Get off your horse and redesign county government for an era of automobiles and airplanes: According to legend, Oklahoma was founded with enough counties so that every citizen was within one day’s travel by horse to their county seat. “It’s still a day’s journey by horse,” Tulsa businessman John Brock points out. “It’s just no one’s using horses.” [Wayne Greene / Tulsa World]

Hamilton: A symbolic proposal, 2,815 bills and ‘Inman’s Axiom’: In the Oklahoma Legislature, as in most of life, there are workhorses and show horses – those who get things done and those who, well, mostly make noise. One way to discern the difference is to consider media and social media attention given to the 2,815 bills and resolutions submitted in advance of this year’s session. [Arnold Hamilton / NewsOK]

Tulsa World editorial: Legislation threatens to strip striking teachers of their licenses: Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, has taken the wrong lesson from last year’s statewide teacher strike. Russ’ House Bill 2214 would make similar strikes illegal. Teachers and superintendents who took part in any future “strike, shutdown or related activities” would lose their pay and have their teaching certificates “permanently revoked,” under Russ’ proposal. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Quapaw Nation becomes first tribal member to join state firefighters association: History was made this month by the Quapaw Nation Fire/EMS Department when it officially became the first tribal department to be accepted into the Oklahoma State Firefighters’ Association that represents thousands of state and volunteer firefighters. [Joplin Globe]

Outreach workers canvas city’s homeless population: Following an early morning tally of Oklahoma City’s homeless population, advocates are pointing to worrisome signs that the number of people living on the city’s streets is continuing to grow. Homeless outreach workers and volunteers canvassed the city early Thursday, administering surveys to people living on city streets, under overpasses and in wooded areas as a part of the city’s annual Point-in-Time count. [NewsOK ????]

Cheat sheet: Incumbent draws challenger in OKC Ward 8: With an eye toward the future, Lauren Durmus had been kicking around the idea of running for city council for a while, only it wasn’t a decision she expected to make anytime soon. “I was thinking it was maybe a few years down the road,” Durmus said. [NonDoc]

OU students march in solidarity, demand action after second blackface incident: Hundreds of University of Oklahoma students gathered in front of Dale Hall Thursday afternoon to take part in the Better Together March after a second blackface incident in Norman over the past week. [Norman Transcript]

Quote of the Day

“So, the $600 million to $700 million revenue growth could shrink to $250 million to $400 million. That’s still a decent sum of money but not quite the golden ticket that offers all you can eat at the chocolate factory”

-OK Policy Executive Director David Blatt, speaking about next year’s budget outlook for Oklahoma [Source: Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day

More than $200

How much an Oklahoma parent with two kids working full-time at $10/hour lost last year because Oklahoma’s Earned Income Tax Credit was made nonrefundable.

Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Working-Family Tax Credits Lifted 8.9 Million People out of Poverty in 2017: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) together boosted the incomes of 29.1 million Americans in 2017, lifting 8.9 million above the poverty line and making 20.2 million others less poor, our analysis of new Census data shows. These totals include 12.5 million children, 4.8 million of whom were lifted out of poverty and another 7.7 million made less poor. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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